The National Catholic Review

Once again we are pleased to have debate analysis from Robert David Sullivan:

My quick analysis before diving into Twitter and the blogosphere:

I suspect that President Obama will get a little jump in the polls over the next few days, but mainly as a reaction to the “Wow, Romney might actually win” narrative rather than in response to tonight’s town hall debate. Obama was surely more engaged than in the first debate, and Romney was more tense (though never bored). However, the framing of the choice between the two candidates remains the same.

As I’ve written before, I think Romney is running on the idea that it couldn’t hurt to let him have a chance running things. American politics is more partisan and more polarized than at any time in living memory, but ideology and philosophy were skimmed over again tonight so as not to scare off the few undecided voters who are left. Obama has better favorability ratings and a small net positive in job approval ratings, but a majority in recent polls still say the country is going “in the wrong direction.” So Romney has not attacked Obama on ideology (I don’t remember the governor saying “conservative” or “liberal” tonight) but as someone who should let someone else have the wheel.

Romney is trying to run as a corrective to the Obama administration, rather than as someone who represents a complete change of direction – though Republican activists are clearly hoping for the latter. (Romney was lucky that his plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program was barely mentioned tonight.) For example, tonight Romney mentioned a “quadrupling” of business regulations under Obama. Is that accurate? It probably doesn’t matter; people have a vague sense that regulations proliferate under Democrats, so Romney implied that we now need a Republican to relieve the pressure on business. Voters think of Democrats as environmentalists, so Romney pledged to step up oil drilling on federal lands as kind of an equal time rule. It’s as if you should change parties in the White House like you rotate your tires.

As in the first debate, Romney promised to change everything and change nothing. His reassurances tonight included “I will not, under any circumstances, reduce the share being paid by the highest-income taxpayers. I will not under any circumstances increase taxes on the middle class.”

Obama vigorously attacked Romney’s plan to lower all marginal tax rates by 20 percent as a “sketchy deal” that makes no mathematical sense (unless it balloons the federal deficit further), surely causing his supporters watching at home to breathe easier. But when moderator Candy Crowley asked what the Republican would do if “the numbers don’t add up” to support the tax cut, Romney snapped, “Of course they add up.”

And that confidence (or arrogance) was the basis of Romney’s argument tonight. “I know what it takes to make an economy work,” he said. Later: “My priority is jobs. I know how to make that happen.” On immigration reform: “I’ll get it done the first year.” And on the differences between himself and George W. Bush: “I’ll crack down on China [trade policies]. President Bush didn’t.”

His last answer of the night included another boast (“I understand what it takes to make a safe and prosperous America”) and another might-as-well-give-me-the-keys argument (“We don’t have to settle for what we’re going through.”).

Will Romney’s brazenness work on the few undecided voters? Obama brought up Romney’s “47 percent” comments at the end of the debate to seed doubts that his opponent has every American’s interest at heart, but the president is probably counting more on getting his supporters enthusiastic enough to vote than on changing minds.

 

 

Comments

ed gleason | 10/20/2012 - 12:18pm
Tom M; It's obvious now there was a CIA safe house involved in the militants attack so will your candidate use congressional classified info to take a cheap shot and blame Obama for the deaths. October suprise !!Maybe Romney's 5 sons will go to Benhazi  to look for the militants. NOT.
Tom Maher | 10/20/2012 - 9:48am
Ed Gleason # 27

Dea Ed,
The murder of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and his security staff at Bengahazi and the total destruction of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is a major public event with epci significance.    These murdeers and destrcution can not be trivialized or dismissed.  Rather they shout out for answers including what actually happened and why.  As it is we have numerous versions of what happened all of which carefully avoid implicating the Presdents foreiegn policies on terrorism and toward Libya which as you may know are controversial and many people strongly disagree with.  

You can count on Romney at the Presidential debates on foriegn policy of Monday October 22 to fully bring out all aspects and foriegn policy implications of the murders and destruction at Benghazi, Libya, a major foriegn polcy event that must be addressed honestly and completely.
ed gleason | 10/19/2012 - 11:27am
Romney's try to exploit the Benghazi attack has backfired. His midnight press release before he even knew the ambassador died got worse for him. And  then in the debate he accused the president of lying and was corrected by Crowley [to laughter]
Now you guys are hanging on sentence structure about Obama's response. I await the Monday debate to see if Romney dares to keep this sad act going.
C Walter Mattingly | 10/18/2012 - 10:08pm
So many words on the simple fact that the Obama administration's attempt to spin/cover up its culpability for the failure to respond adequately to the repeated requests for security which then resulted in a successful attack and tragic death of Stevens and others didn't stick and got justly outed. When  the cover story cracked open, Hillary, the good soldier, fell on her sword for Obama. It's simply one more in a long line of the president's failures. The administration has been outed, and Clinton has taken the heat for the president as best she could. 
Let's move.on. 
ed gleason | 10/18/2012 - 7:27pm
I wonder about you guys who want to play grammar games about antecedents about what Obama meant but you don't seem able to spell correctly in your posts**, you have a lot of nerve posting BS in public. .  somewhat like your straw man Romney.

**beleive, blamming, terrroist =Mark's stuff... grade f-
**wast, adminsitration. colsulate in Bengazi, sponttreneous[my favorite],  attqck was spontatneous, naarative.. Tim's stuff= grade f-

Ask a junior high kid to get you a spell check and come back next year. preferably after Obama's second inauguration 
Tim O'Leary | 10/18/2012 - 3:27pm
Ed #9, 11, 12, 14, 16
Here is the transcript of what President Obama said on September 12:
“Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.
As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”

So, the reference is a general one, not tied to Benghazi, which is described as “this attack.” But, let’s say Obama meant Benghazi, and not the original 9/11. Here is what was said the subsequent days:

Sept 13 -Jay Carney: ''The protests we're seeing around the region are in reaction to this movie. They are not directly in reaction to any policy of the United States or the government of the United States or the people of the United States.''

Sept 13 - State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland:''I know that's going to be frustrating for you, but we really want to make sure that we do this right and we don't jump to conclusions. That said, obviously, there are plenty of people around the region citing this disgusting video as something that has been motivating.''

Sept 14 - Jay Carney:''We were not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.''

Sept 16 - Susan Rice, US ambassador to UN: on CNN ''There was a hateful video that was disseminated on the Internet. It had nothing to do with the United States government, and it's one that we find disgusting and reprehensible. It's been offensive to many, many people around the world. That sparked violence in various parts of the world, including violence directed against Western facilities including our embassies and consulates.'' & on CBS ''We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.''

Sept 18 – Jay Carney: ''Our belief, based on the information we have, is it was the video that caused the unrest in Cairo, and the video and the unrest in Cairo that helped - that precipitated some of the unrest in Benghazi and elsewhere. What other factors were involved is a matter of investigation.''

Sept 19 – Jay Carney: '' Right now I'm saying we don't have evidence at this point that this was premeditated or preplanned to coincide on a - to happen on a specific date or coincide with that anniversary.''

Same day (Sept 19) - Matthew Olson, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, responding to a question by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman on whether the attack was a terrorist attack: ''They were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy.

Sept 20 - Jay Carney: ''It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials.''

Sept 20 - President Obama at a town hall meeting organized by the Spanish-language Univision Network, responding to a question about the possible involvement of al Qaeda: ''What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.''

ed gleason | 10/17/2012 - 9:37pm
I am not misinformed. Obama said the next day in the Rose Garden that this was a terrorist attack. Sean Hannity thinks that his spinning that this is  'cover-up' is a GOP winner. I guess that he will advise Romney next week on foreign policy. To imply that Obama is responsible for security in an outlying consulate and a CIA safe house borders on imbecility.  
Michael Barberi | 10/17/2012 - 8:20pm
Sorry Ed, but you are misinformed. Obama told the UN that such an act was the result of a You Tube video that the USA did not condone or make. He also said it was an spontaneous uprising and his UN Ambassador did the same. If Obama believed that it was a terrorist act, it must have been based on his facts (as in intelligence). Why did he not tell the UN, and the American public what he believed to be the truth right from the outset? He never mentioned a terrorist attack on any the TV programs as well. Now Obama wants us all to believe that this was a big failure to communicate between his State Department and the intelligence community..and the White House. 

Only until the real facts emerged and were well vetted in the media did Obama then admit that this act was a terrorist act. It had nothing to do with a video, nor was it spontaneous. Expect more on this before election day.

You missed the bigger picture about Obama's failed economic plans. IMO, this is the reason he will lose the election. You are entitled to your opinion, but not the facts. 


Michael Barberi | 10/17/2012 - 4:43pm
Obama did much better in this debate, but on the real issues of importance (e.g, the economy, jobs), Romney was the stronger and more convincing candidate to lead us out of the recession and unemployment situation we have been facing for the past 4 years.

The moderator was terrible. She acted like a judge when she sided with Obama that he called the Libya disaster a "terrorist act". This was not only not true, but I am told the moderated admitted to this serious mistake. The applause from the audience was deplorable and goes to show that many voters are ignorant of the facts. When Obama wanted the moderator to repeat what she said, he was implicitly saying that it was the truth. This goes to one's character. He will say anything to get elected. Those who like Obama should be reminded that most all of his 2008 campaign promises were broken. Our debt has almost doubled, unemployment of below 8% (e.g., 5.4%) was never realized, job growth has barely kept pace with population growth. more people are in poverty, and gridlock in Washington continues without a sincere and effective President to bring both parties together, to compromise, in the interests of all Americans. Obama is no Clinton.

Obama's strategy is not to defend his record or policies. His strategy is to paint Romney as a perons out of touch with most Americans, and his policies as something that will not work. My intuition tells me that if Obama gets elected on his record, we should blow up the Republican party and start with a clean piece of paper and reconstitute it. However, I am an optimist and believe Romney will win.
Tim O'Leary | 10/17/2012 - 1:01pm
Rick #4
I suppose there is no accounting for taste but your unabashed adulation for Obama and animosity for Romney is remarkable to me. It only goes to show how easily disagreements of opinion can so quickly turn into visceral hate. Biden was of course seen by most to have acted like the bully you thought you say in Romney, but I bet you thought his guffawing was all sweetness and light.
Rick Fueyo | 10/17/2012 - 11:28am
I am admittedly an immense partisan and also have a deep emotional affection for the President.  But before last night, I never felt any personal animosity for Mitt Romney.  I thought he was a decent guy, and especially liked that he was a trailblazer as a Mormon candidate, and regretted some of the anti-Mormon prejudice he had endured.
 
But last night, I found him detestable. He tried to play all alpha male, looking very much like a grown-up version of the high school kid that bullied an effeminate classmate and held them down to cut his hair. I had forgotten that incident until last night. When it was originally reported, a rethinking that it was unfair to bring up something from so long ago, but also a somewhat troubled by what it suggested about his possible internal makeup, as that was truly disturbing bullying behavior. That type of mindset goes against everything in my core being, and I now find him dislikable personally, which I usually do not with political opponents.
Stephen SCHEWE | 10/17/2012 - 10:03am
Most observers (e.g., the recent portrait of Obama by Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair) suggest that Obama is emotionally balanced compared to many of the others who have dared the gauntlet of running for the Presidency.  I want a president who believes enough in his vision and values to persevere in the face of the inertia and absurdity of the political process, who's willing to take risks to get important work done.  As one of the President's predecessors remarked, "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neithe enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat."
Michael Kelly | 10/19/2012 - 10:42am
            Since it is now President Obama’s position that his use of the phrase “acts of terror” was intended by him to mean that he knew on 9/12 that the assault on the consulate was a terrorist attack and not a spontaneous mob reaction to the offending video, then so be it.  He ought to know what he meant.  However, in making that claim at the debate he has dug a much deeper hole for himself.
            By saying at the debate - in response to Romney’s 14 days of delay accusation - that he used the word “terror” in his 9/12 statement Obama was creating the impression that he knew it was a terror attack at the outset.  Up until that point critics could not cite the 9/12 reference to “acts of terror” as evidence that Obama knew early on that the consulate had been subject to a terrorist attack and not a spontaneous mob reaction to the anti-Muhammad video since the statement ““no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation…” seemed to be a generalized condemnation of terrorism made after a reference to 9/11/01.  It could not reasonably be cited as definitive evidence that Obama knew it was a terror attack. 
            Therefore, even though in light of the testimony by state department employees and security officials to the effect they had almost real time knowledge of the attack, and knew early on that there was no protest or demonstration before the attack - and never claimed there was -   and even though it is extremely implausible that the President was not kept informed during the 18 hour period beginning soon after time the attack began (4:30 pm Washington time), there was no hard evidence (yet) that he knew it was a terrorist attack.
            But now, in light of Obama’s emphasis on his use of the phrase “acts of terror” on 9/12 to rebut Romney’s accusation that it took two weeks to admit the attack was a terrorist attack, not only does the Benghazi incident involve a) a screw-up in pre-attack security policy, and b) the appearance of deception by members of the Obama administration as to the cause of the four murders, but c) the certainty of deliberate disinformation and deception by Obama himself because by his own admission he knew as of 9/12 that the consulate was subject to a terrorist attack and yet had Jay Carney and Susan Rice peddle the anti-video mob action story and peddled it himself before the UN and on Letterman and The View.    
 
Tim O'Leary | 10/18/2012 - 10:17pm
Ed#20
I'm typing this real slowly so you can keep up.
When you were handing out F grades, you gave them to Mark and Tim when the typos were in the posts of Michael and Tom (sorry guys). You should be especially careful when you are presuming to correct others? Are you a public school teacher?
F grade for the puerile Obama supporter.

On another topic, you said this race was over. How are the polls today?
Tom Maher | 10/18/2012 - 9:59pm
continuation # 22

This is why it is so astounding for Ambassador Susan Rice to tell a story on five different news programs that this was not a deliberately planned attack when it was known that it was in public reports available to everyone in the world as of 9/12/2012. 
Tom Maher | 10/18/2012 - 9:45pm
Michael Barberi # 19

Every time I changed the TV Channel on Sunday morning September 16th  to catch another news show there was Ambassador Susan Rice with the same message :  the root cause of the assault on our Consulate in Benghazi., Libya was the Youtube video that caused protestors to resort to exterme violence murder and deistruction. This account never made sense from the outset.   

The very first reports in the media on 9/11 attack on U.S. Consulate in Benghazi  reported that heavy weapons had been used including mortars,  Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and extensive heavy automatic weapons.  Protestors do not bring mortars, RPGs  and automatic weapons to a protest demonstration for peaceful purposes.  And possessing these heavy weapons  iindicates prior planning for an assault the U.S. Consulate which happened.  ( We now know there was never any protests at benghazi.)  Also reported on 9/12 that this assault was very intense military operation that lasted several hours. It ins now known that real-time pictures of the assult were being viewed in Washington as ithe assault took place.. The pictures clearly show heavy damage to concrete reinforced structures of the buildings of the Consulate that remained even as the rest of the Consulate buildings were completely destroyed.  From day one it was publically known that these professional military assault tactics were used and publically reported. 

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Patricia Bergeron | 10/18/2012 - 8:15pm
This whole argument about whether or not Obama knew the Benghazi incident was a terrorist attack is a tempest in a teapot, designed to deflect attention from the fact that Romney is a disingenuous candidate that I believe even many conservative Republicans find difficult to endorse. When a mob attacks a foreign embassy, it is an act of terror, as Obama stated in his Rose Garden speech. When a coordinated group such as an Al Quaeda affiliate attacks a foreign embassy, that is an act of terror as well. What difference does it make? None. Romney is so desperate to gain the advantage that he is now grasping at straws.
Mary Sweeney | 10/17/2012 - 10:03am
''...a majority in recent polls still say the country is going “in the wrong direction''.”

Yes, I get those surveys too, but they are poorly designed. They ask a question but then go on to interpret the answer to their liking as opposed to asking the respondent what he/she means. I would be more than happy to tell them what I mean but they really don't want to know. If they did, they would ask. In their mind it is a tool to exploit for imagined political advantage. November surprise?

I have checked the box about going in the wrong direction but I am infuriated by an obstructionist Congress. My answer should offer Romney-Ryan zero comfort.I feel confident that I am not alone.
Michael Barberi | 10/18/2012 - 6:38pm
Thanks Gabriel, Tim and Tom,

I would add that on "The View", Obama was asked point-blank, Was the attack in Benghazi an act of terrorism?...Obama replied "we are still investigating this incident".

If Obama was so certain that it was a terrroist attack, as he now claims his Rose Garden words meant the day after the attack, why did he not repeat what he believed to be the truth in the 10 days after this incident? Instead he and his closest advisors only said, it was triggered by a video, it was the result of a spontaneous demonstration, we are investigating this incident and gathering the facts, we don't have evidence that this attack was preplanned, blah, blah, blah. Even Biden put his foot in his mouth again by blamming "the intelligence community" for the problem.

Ed Gleason only wants to beleive in fantacism in support for his idealogy. It is not based on the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary. 

 
Tom Maher | 10/18/2012 - 4:39pm
Tim O'Leary # 17

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on Sunday Sptember 16, five days after the murders of four our diplomats in Bengazi, Liby, a appeared on five Sunday news programs shows including CNN as you mentioned but and  CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox.  She was the wast he adminsitration messager with a single message:  the deaths and destruction at the colsulate in Bengazi Libya was a due to a sponttreneous unanticipated protest that turned suddenly ino a violent armed attack thad totqlly destroyed the U.S. Consulate in Bengazi and killed four of its personnel including the u.S. Ambassador to Libya.  Ambassador Rice the attqck was spontatneous and not planned which turned just the opposit.  The attack was deliberate and well planned and execute and there was no protest involved.  This was the message the Obama adminstration gave to the public for weeks until overwhelming evidence proved otherwise.  The Obama administration invented a naarative to protect itself from the fact that this was anther planned 9/11 terrorist attack which the adminsistration was unprepared for.
ed gleason | 10/18/2012 - 2:10pm
"And our leaders have an obligation to tell the truth to the American people.'
Good we agree .. So Obama did say  on 9-12-2012 it was a  terror attack in Benghazi. I'm pleased that you don't watch Fox news. they just said that  he said  terror attack but he did not say Benghazi in that same  sentemce as his total remarks about Benghazi. Waiting for the FBI report is the right idea.. see you next week.
ed gleason | 10/18/2012 - 12:40pm
"8. President Obama's claim that he made in the Rose Garden about it being a terrorist attack holds no water whatsoever.' [no 'claim' just the fact]
Gabriel .Do you subscribe to the Fox news idea that that the video tape of Obama saying it was terrorist attack  was altered to include this terror note by the campaign.?
Gabriel Marcella | 10/18/2012 - 11:10am
Michael J.:
Excellent points! The Benghazi incident will be mined extensively for a Harvard case study, which will enrich university courses on the conduct of foreign policy. There are some basic incontrevertible facts:
1. Based on threats reported by intelligence, the regional security officer responsible for the US diplomatc missions in Libya asked for plussed up security for the consulate in Benghazi.
2. State denied the request because it wanted to avoid a heavy security footprint. Reasons for this are not clear, but need to be investigated.
3. The attack on the consulate was planned, it was not spontaneous, and was planned to occur on 9/11. Every US mission in the Middle East was on the alert because of the date.
4. There was confusion in Washington. Ambassador Rice was sent out to deny that it was a terrorist attack, which later was retracted.
5. Secretary Clinton took a 'hit for the team" (meaning the President's reelection), because State is responsible for the security of its diplomatic missions.
6. VP Biden was technically correct that "we did not know" during the debate with Con. Ryan,but he was politically incorrect because the "buck stops here" at the
President's desk.
7. There appears to have been a rush to blame intelligence for the failure. Unfortunately,this is done to cover policy failure by decision makers.
8. President Obama's claim that he made in the Rose Garden abourt it being a terrorist attack holds no water whatsoever.
8. The FBI report will clarify many things. It's scheduled to come out after the November election.
ed gleason | 10/17/2012 - 10:19pm
The reason that the UN Ambassador [not Obama] referred to the video induced demos in innumerable Muslim countries with US Embassies and consulates was to put these Muslim countries on notice that their video induced demos did not cause piggy back militant attack killings of more Americans. Muslim and all countries have responsibility for protecting embassies and consulates. Total Security would need companies of Marine infantry with heavy weapons to  protect each of these Embassies, consulates and safe houses to prevent militants with pick-up mounted recoilless rifles and RP Gs'...
Romney/Hannity and I guess you, have no military knowledge to ofter.
Cover-up is inane.
ed gleason | 10/17/2012 - 7:28pm
MJ Barberi what you post is wrong wrong. Romney took a cheap shot hours after he heard Americans died but he did not know who. . He got caught doing it . Obama referred to the Benghazi terrorist attack the next day and it was all about Benghazi. Romney a draft dodger, tried to besmirch career people dying for their country. Stevens father told Romney to stop it. If Romney brings up Benghazi in the  next debate he will lose. If seals or special forces capture the terrorists next week it will be Obama in a landslide.  Your optimism and thoughts have  no impact on the election so get ready to reconsitute the GOP 


here are the facts. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/10/17/obama-on-benghazi.html
Rick Fueyo | 10/17/2012 - 12:15pm
Your attempted point will not bear the least bit of scrutiny if you have even a cursory understanding of actual economic history.
 
What occurred in 2007-2008 is a financial crisis recession, which by definition takes far longer to recover from. Also it was far steeper than 1981-82 recession.
 
Further, the admittedly steep V-shaped recovery of 1981 1982 was largely a product of Paul Volcker lowering interest rates after a concerted and successful attempt to break inflationary cycle expectations.  The Fed has employed significant expansionary monetary policy, but is moving from a far lower point in the cost of funds, and are operating against a zero lower bound.
The 1981-82 Recovery was also helped by a significant dose of Keynesian defense spending, the exact opposite of what has occurred in the last years, which overall government employment, and considering states and municipalities, has declined significantly.
 There are greater things on heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophies, especially when those philosophies are a product of the Conintern
Gabriel Marcella | 10/18/2012 - 1:39pm
Ed,
I do not get my insights from Fox or other spinners. Mine comes from academic study, and more than 30 years of working in, teaching, and writing about national security and foreign policy, and working closely with the Departments of Defense and State.  

Benghazi is a great tragedy that cost us 4 great Americans. We need to learn from the experience so that it's not repeated. And our leaders have an obligation to tell the truth to the American people.
J Cosgrove | 10/17/2012 - 11:33am
''but a majority in recent polls still say the country is going “in the wrong direction.”''


Maybe we should try somethings that have worked in the past.


http://www.investors.com/image/ISS23c_121017.png.cms



Maybe a little bit of the right ideology is what is needed.
David Smith | 10/17/2012 - 3:08am
These debates are about performance, about bearing up under stress, much more than about issues.  Romney didn't look as good last night as he did in the first debate, probably because Obama improved.  They were both playing this silly game pretty much at the same level.

I was struck by Obama's hectoring.  Reminded me of what I didn't like about Al Gore.  They're both damnation preachers.  Or maybe football coaches.  A problem with that is that not everyone finds being hammered with words inspiring.

The audience, by the way, may have been self-declared undecideds, but at one point they cheered the moderator when she sided with Obama. Hmm. 

Perhaps one reason why you don't think Romney's making a strong enough case for his candidacy is that, like most of those blogging here, you have a much more Manichean view of life than people like Romney.  I suspect Obama's much more a true believer than Romney. True believers can be very hard to live with.