THE BLOG
10/26/2012 09:36 am ET Updated Dec 26, 2012

You Probably Missed the Obama/Romney Debates

While an impressive-sounding 70 million Americans viewed the presidential debates on TV, that means twice as many registered voters (137,000,000) did NOT see the debates. As a public service to them, I present below my summary of what they missed.

The Middle Class

Romney: "I'm severely devoted to helping the middle class, which has suffered terribly under President Obama. Rebuilding the middle class is my highest priority."

Obama:
"You parade around in public talking about how much you care about the middle class, but everybody already knows the truth about you. You go behind doors with your rich friends and tell them there are 47 percent of your fellow citizens you can get along without. Well I have news for you, Governor: Those 47 percent ARE the American middle class."

Creating Jobs

Romney:
"This nation desperately needs new jobs. You promised that we'd have less than 6 percent unemployment in four years. But look: it's above 8 percent. We need new jobs, and we need them now. I'll create 12,000,000 new jobs in my first four years. I know how to do that. I know how to do that!"

Obama:
"You keep saying 'I know how to do that,' but the truth is that all you really know how to do is buy and sell companies and fire people who don't do what you want. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but this does not begin to prepare you for managing the worldwide affairs of the most powerful nation in the world, where you don't get to buy or sell whatever you want, and you can't fire Congress or the Supreme Court or other nations that have a mind of their own.

"And here's some news that should really make you shudder: You can't fire the 47 percent of your fellow citizens you think are loafing on the job. Know why? Because they don't work for you. They are your employers. You work for them."

Romney:
"You didn't hear me. I'm a businessman. I do know how to create jobs."

Obama:
"I hear your claim, but I know better. Your business experience running an investment operation with a couple of hundred employees may have made you rich, but it is almost totally irrelevant to the work of being President. That's why no businessman has been successful as President in the last 100 years. In fact, historians rank them among the very worst. There's no reason to believe you wouldn't be ranked right down at the bottom with the rest of them who thought they had all the answers.

"Now that I think about it, that must be why your rating as a governor was so lousy. By the end of your one and only term, your approval rating was 34 percent -- third worst of all the governors in the entire country. Seems like there were a lot of folks up there in Massachusetts who liked what they heard you promise when you were campaigning but realized too late that you couldn't deliver. I guess they must have regretted ever voting for you."

Romney:
"We need more jobs, I tell you. I can do better than you have done. And, let me repeat, I do know how to do that. I really, really do know how to do that!"

Obama:
"When anybody asks you how you're going to do it, you don't have an answer. You just pump your fist and repeat it again, louder. You may not have a plan for how to create new jobs, but you have told us that you really like to fire people. We do believe that about you. And that tells us where your head is.

"You know, some of us would rather have a country where employers train their people to get it right, and then help their people improve their performance when they fall short, rather than toss them out in the street. That's what I'm investing in. If employers followed your example of leadership, all we'd have is a revolving door of unemployable failures."

Failure of Leadership

Romney:
"Well, speaking of leadership, you have had every opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership, and you have failed completely. We won't get out of this mess without strong leadership, and that's what I will provide."

Obama:
"Some folks think that strong leadership means noisy leadership. 'Hey, look at me. Look at what I'm doing.' But others respect leadership that gets stuff done without a lot of fanfare or boasting. Like preventing a worldwide collapse of the banking system. Like ending the Iraq war. Like reinvigorating the U.S. auto industry. Like taking out Osama bin Laden. Like getting healthcare coverage for tens of millions of Americans who didn't have it, or might have lost it."

Romney:
"That's all well and good, but you haven't been a strong leader. I look like a leader. I talk like a leader. I am a successful leader. You are a failed leader."

Obama:
"You know, Governor, there's a flip side to leadership. It's called followership. If you holler, "This way!" and nobody follows, guess what? You're not leading. You're just making noise. And if you yourself ever happen to find yourself confronting a Congress whose entire purpose in life is to refuse to follow you, then you might be a little more humble about how great a leader you are."

Foreign Affairs

Romney:
"Look at what you let happen at Benghazi. Four Americans killed, including our Ambassador. You failed to protect them, and you can't even get your story straight about what happened."

Obama:
"The fact that you think everything could have been known right away just demonstrates how little you really understand what it's like on the ground in places like Libya. Conflicting stories are the norm, not the exception. You don't rush to judgment in situations like this.

"Look where flimsy rumors and conflicting information got us after 9/11. We plunged into war in Iraq, and that delayed by years our finally hunting down and killing the people who were really behind 9/11. I'm proud that we have a team of foreign-service professionals who have the patience and skill to get to the truth, no matter how long it takes, so when we act, we act smart, not just act tough."

Romney:
"But the world is full of terrorists, and we need a plan to back them down. Take Iran: they are four years closer to a nuclear weapon. We need to crush them now, before they get any stronger."

Obama:
"Governor, the days of the United States acting unilaterally are over. That hasn't worked out too well, has it. Your inexperience in foreign affairs prevents you from appreciating how much time and patience and negotiating it takes to build effective coalitions than really work -- coalitions like the massive one we now have going that is unquestionably crippling Iran's economy and will force them to relinquish their nuclear ambitions.

"With all due respect, it's clear to everybody you are not very well suited to international diplomacy. You're a guy who likes to tell people what to do. Well, that simply doesn't work very well in foreign affairs.

"Heck, you couldn't even visit England without making enemies among our closest friends there. Scary to think how you'd do in a really foreign country."

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Okay, folks, there you have it. I just saved you four and a half hours of TV-watching. You're welcome.