Obama takes on Romney's statements - San Francisco Chronicle
Lakewood, Colo. --
In his first public appearance after what was widely viewed as a lackluster debate performance against his Republican challenger, President Obama was cheered Thursday by thousands of supporters, telling them at a rally that he was shocked to meet a "guy who was playing Mitt Romney" on stage.
"When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney," Obama said. "The real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year, promising $5 trillion in tax cuts to favor the wealthy." But on Wednesday, Romney said, "I don't know anything about that," the president added.
"The real Mitt Romney said we don't need any more teachers in our classrooms," Obama said, "but last night, he can't get enough of them."
Obama launched a far more spirited attack on Romney at Thursday's rally than during the debate, repeatedly characterizing Romney's performance as that of a candidate trying to morph his political profile and step away from his positions on taxes and education while refusing to provide details on billions of dollars he would cut from programs.
"Thank goodness somebody is getting tough on Big Bird. We didn't know Big Bird was driving the federal deficit, but that's what we heard last night," Obama said, referring to Romney's statement that he would cut funding to public television, the broadcast home of "Sesame Street."
Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said Romney demonstrated in the debate why he should be president.
"In full damage-control mode, President Obama today offered no defense of his record and no vision for the future," Williams said.
The GOP candidate delivered a much-needed performance in Wednesday's debate, appearing energetic and aggressive in contrast to Obama's low-key, professorial approach.
Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said the president would make "adjustments," and would need to determine by the next presidential debate, on Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y., how best to counter what the campaign considers Romney's evasions on a series of issues.
The crowd of Obama supporters braved the cold Thursday in the Denver suburb, chanting "Fired up! Ready to Go!" and singing along with performer will.i.am, whose message came in songs like "Don't Stop Believin'."
Pat Clark, 70, a retired accountant from Denver, was among the Obama supporters who expressed disappointment in the president's debate performance, saying he should have gone on the attack more.
Obama's Colorado rally began a campaign swing that will take him to California this week. He will be in San Francisco Monday for two fundraisers, including one at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.