How The GOP Booby-Trapped The 1st Debate – And Why It Won’t Fool Obama Again

While the first face-off between President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney at the Oct. 3 presidential debate feels like old news by now, the repercussions are still reverberating. Romney seems to be enjoying a debate bump in the polls, even though his “great” performance was based on bold-faced lies about his tax plan, among other issues.

Many liberals found themselves perplexed by what they rated as a poor performance from Obama. Some attributed the President’s lackluster delivery to not being ready for Romney to repeatedly lie his way through the debate.

While that may be true, I believe Republicans had an even stealthier strategy that won them some short-term ground. Exactly 24 hours before the debate, several conservative outlets coördinated the re-release of a 2007 speech where then Senator Obama described the nation’s paralysis in not only responding to Katrina victims, but also in addressing the historic roots of poverty and discrimination.

Obama’s remarks were impassioned and justified (take it from someone who spent her childhood in the area that would later be devastated by Katrina). See clips from the video here.

To suit its own purposes, the Daily Caller spun Obama’s remarks with the following rhetoric:

The racially charged and at times angry speech undermines Obama’s carefully-crafted image as a leader eager to build bridges between ethnic groups. For nearly 40 minutes, using [a black] accent he almost never adopts in public, Obama describes a racist, zero-sum society, in which the white majority profits by exploiting black America. The mostly black audience shouts in agreement.

So, ahead of the debate, conservatives tried to paint “angry black” Obama as someone who is unable to connect or care about the (dwindling) white majority. (Ironically, it’s actually Romney who fails to connect with a healthy slice of Americans.) The over-hyped video release was a real “Hail Mary” play for Republicans, and the timing was just right to elicit a course correction from Obama and his debate team.

As the Democratic camp prepped for the debate amid accusations of Obama being “too black,” Obama probably focused his attention on exuding poise and restraint. He wanted to prove that “angry black man” motif false, so voters could see through the political charade and hear the truth about issues ranging from Medicare to solving the deficit.

What Obama didn’t account for at the time is the fact that our racially unfair society apparently has no problem with “angry white men.” Thus, Romney’s camp filled the personality vacuüm the video release created by prepping Romney in the opposite way – coaching him to appear boisterous, aggressive, and indignant.

The result was what we saw on Oct. 3: A fiery and aggressive Romney up against what appeared to be a muted and baffled Obama.

I think we’ll see a renewed vigor from Obama in the next match-up. He’s too clever a guy, too careful a planner, to be fooled twice.

And, if there’s anything positive to come out another deceitful Republican trick to swing the election, it should be a feeling of renewed vigor about voting on Nov. 6.

The last chance to register to vote is happening within the next few days in some states. Check your info here:


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