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Etan Thomas Headshot

Mr. President, It's Time to Come Out Swinging

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WhiteHouse.gov
WhiteHouse.gov

I've been a loyal supporter of President Barack Obama dating back to before he was sworn in as a senator in '05. I remember vividly the very same day then-President George Bush declared war on Iraq on Oct. 2, 2002, then community organizer Barack Obama addressed the first high-profile anti-war rally in Chicago, and I have been supporting him ever since.

I have campaigned for him, participated in endless fundraisers, spoken at countless rallies on the campaign trail in both '08 and for this election. I plan to be on the campaign trial from now until Election Day -- fighting for President Barack Obama to win a second term.

I will do everything I can for the president to win on November 6. But at Tuesday's debate I need him to do one thing: Come out with fire!!!

Of course I know he has to be extra careful not to appear as the "angry black man." But he can't be the defeated, emotionless, no-energy, frustrated, passionless black man we saw in the first debates either.

It won't do anyone any good for him to be all nice and non-threatening and lose the election.

I want him to listen to a mixtape with Ice Cube, Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy, Guns And Roses' Appetite For Destruction album and throw in some DMX and let this cat have it!

I'm not saying I want the president to smack him in the mouth for lying and mis-characterizing the truth, as Romney did so well during the last debate in Denver.

But we need him to call Romney on every lie he spews and every inaccurate statistic he presents as if it were factual. He has to treat the millions of viewers as if they know absolutely nothing up until this point because unfortunately, there is a large portion of voters who will accept all of the falsehoods presented to them. Others are simply too busy and don't have time to follow all of the particulars of this lengthy process; many don't even have time to turn on the TV to see the non-stop attack ads. They have life to deal with on a day to day basis; single parents earning less than $30,000 per year, enlisted soldiers with less than eight years of service, college students earning less than $25,000 per year but has $10,000 of expenses for tuition, working families with a child who is struggling in school, other families struggling with piling bills after being laid off from work, or families working double shifts to make ends meet -- you know, the problems of the 99 percent.

Many everyday Americans may simply not be able to follow everything and this may be their first time tuning in and paying attention.

So President Obama has to treat this as if this is the only debate they will see. He can't wait for the fact-checkers. The people need to hear directly from his mouth. As soon as the moderator says, "Mr. President, you have five minutes," they need to hear, "Everything he said is a lie, and here is the truth."

Because for some strange reason Romney's strategy of "spirited" interruptions, where he denied most of his campaign platform for the past six months, had an obvious effect on his poll numbers. That reality speaks to an American culture where not following the rules, interrupting, and outright lying will prove beneficial to you. Just look at how it worked for Romney in the polls after the last debate.

They should have a buzzer that goes off everytime someone lies or says something that's not factual during the debates.

There were so many inaccurate statements presented as "facts" by Romney that I can name -- but will just gloss over a few of them:

9:15 p.m.: "I don't have a tax cut of a scale that you're talking about. My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class."

He wants a tax cut that adds to the deficit. The problem with this is he won't say how. In a much-cited study, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that there is no way this is possible without significantly raising taxes on the middle class, which Romney adamantly said he is not going to do.

10:10 p.m.: Romney says his health care plan in Massachusetts is very different from Obamacare. The guy who designed both the plans calls them "the same $&%€¥ bill."

10:14 p.m.: Gov. Romney: "What I support is no change for current retirees and near retirees to Medicare. And the president supports taking $716 billion out of that program."

The fact is, Obamacare does not cut Medicare. That is simply not true. What President Obama did by signing the Affordable Care Act is he reduced growth of Medicare over 10 years. Obamacare did cut funds from Medicare, but from providers, not beneficiaries. The actuaries in charge of the program say the savings will actually extend the life of the program and experts say the cuts won't affect benefits. But Romney knows this but insists on repeating this blatant falsehood.

If Romney changes his mind on abortion one more time he is going to have had as many positions as he has kids.

So now all of a sudden Romney agrees with President Obama on education, Wall Street, and distribution of resources (taxes)?

Etch A Sketch, huh?

At this point, I'm almost surprised Mitt Romney hasn't flip-flopped yet on his Mormon faith.

But if Romney is going to repeat untruths about you and your administration to your face, Mr. President, it's okay to have that same eye of the tiger you have had during countless speeches in the past and call him out on it. Stand up. Offer no apologies for being the only candidate who is keeping it real with the American people.

Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with showing contempt for a man who would negate 47 percent of the American population.

Or someone who would even dare to openly suggest firing Big Bird and discrediting Sesame Street; a sentiment that speaks to Mitt Romney's inability to understand that many Americans value PBS, its programming and benefit to educating young minds on the vast diversity of American culture where all people are created equal and should be considered. Which shouldn't surprise anyone considering his value on the minds of children was even further displayed by him blowing off Nickelodeon's Kids Pick The President special.

Your loyal fans, the millions who want you to stand up and be the candidate we voted for four years ago, want and need this from you on Tuesday night.

We want to see the fire Joe Biden had on Thursday during the VP debate in you.

It was unfortunate that you had to ensure the worst refereeing I have seen since the replacement refs. There are rules to debating that were not being followed or enforced by the moderator. Romney bullied Jim Lehrer the entire night. It took him a whole 16 minutes to lose his cool and interrupt Lehrer, and the bullying continued for the rest of the debate. I thought next he was going to hold him down and cut his hair like he did that little boy when he was in high school.

Hopefully CNN's Candy Crowley and Bob Schieffer of CBS News, who will moderate the next two debates, do a better job of standing up to Romney's tradition of bullying, especially with October being bullying prevention month.

But aside from all that, your record speaks for itself: Bin Laden, health care, no more being denied because of pre-existing conditions, more than 4.5 million new jobs created, more private sector jobs in 2010 alone than during the entire Bush years, a rescued auto industry, American manufacturing growing for the first time since the 1990s, Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act making repaying student loans a little easier to manage, expanding Pell Grants, Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay act protecting against pay discrimination, and I could go on and on.

We now stand at a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and America faces a clear choice in this election.

I personally don't need a tax break.

But teachers, single mothers working two jobs to make ends meet, firemen, construction workers, receptionists, farmers, joe the plumbers -- those are the ones we need to help along.

And for the record, there is nothing Christian, Catholic -- I'm not really sure about Mormon, but I am fairly confident they don't support a system of trickle-down economics where only the 1 percent is granted the rights of liberty and justice, and you try to take away from the people who need help the most either -- about his plans.

Mr. President, the American people need to be reminded of what exactly is at stake here. It's not an election that should be taken lightly.

As you have said many times, Mitt Romney wants to take us back to the failed policies of the Bush administration that got us into this predicament in the first place.

They need to be reminded the mess you walked into -- that Bush had eight years to leave the economy in shambles, tangled in a web of mismanagement and that a crisis this deep didn't happen overnight, so how could it be fixed overnight?

You need to repeat what you said at your acceptance speech in 2008:

"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there."

This was undoubtedly one of the biggest cleanup jobs in American history. And we are in fact on the path where all Americans will be able to, in your words, "Earn enough to raise a family, send their kids to school, own a home, put enough away to retire and have enough food on their table to eat."

You have said repeatedly that you want hard work to actually pay off, and for people everyone to be equipped with the proper tools. Where responsibility is rewarded, everyone has a fair shot, does their fair share and plays by the same rules.

Mr. President, you are the one who wants to make sure that happens while your opponent wants it to only be a reality for 1 percent of the country.

That's what this election comes down to. That's why we need you to go in there like Rocky Balboa, who never backed down from Mr. T or Ivan Drago. The American people need you to come out swinging like a young Mike Tyson with Cus D'amato-type haymakers.

Mr. President, it's time to take the gloves off. Please, no more holding back.

A condensed version of this article was first ran in the Washington Post.