Governor Romney tonight turned in another performance of Hollywood quality.
In an evening full of complaining about time and interrupting the moderator and the president, Romney truly brought the concept of The Jerk to life last night.
The performance was painful and unbecoming of a presidential candidate. He was disrespectful and was clearly determined to play by the rules – as long as he gets to define what the rules are.
But no moment was more painful and frustrating for Romney than the moment when there was no time left.
President Obama had the last word and he used it with the most effectiveness of any candidate in any of the three debates thus far.
Obama used it as an opportunity to make his case against Mitt Romney's assertion that 47 percent of Americans think that they are victims and do not take responsibility for their lives.
Obama pointed to veterans, retired Americans and students – specifically some questioners – as accurate examples of who Mitt Romney was calling out at his fundraiser.
It was not Romney's only low point of the night, just his lowest.
Romney also totally fumbled what his campaign promised would be the area that their candidate would press the President the hardest: on Benghazi. Romney accused the President of misrepresenting his words when, during the debate, Obama said he called it an act of terror the following day, in the Rose Garden.
Romney looked sunken after the debate moderator, Candy Crowley, backed up the president. For a second Romney thought he had the president but in the end he could not have been more mistaken.
Another moment that was punishing to Romney was an early exchange about taxes. As he explained to a questioner that he would cap her deductions at an arbitrary number that he could not assure. He then gushed about how middle class taxes would be lowered on interest on investments, dividends and capital gains.
What Mitt Romney exposed is that he cannot relate to and has no understanding of the fact that, for middle class families, our homes, our education and our gifts to our churches and favorite charities ARE our primary investments.
Unlike Romney, we do not live off huge investments. We work for a living and some part of the tax code, on the margins, helps us live the lives we want.
Romney will not touch the gimmick that allows him to pay a lower tax rate. He just thinks everyone else should live the same way and does not understand the absurdity of that belief.
President Obama termed Romney's tax plan a sketchy deal that even Mitt Romney would not sign on to in the private sector – given the complete lack of detail.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.
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