Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter lent his voice to the post-debate fray on Monday, accusing Mitt Romney of wildly departing from his previously held positions during the first of three presidential debates held in Denver last Wednesday.
Nutter, a staunch Obama surrogate, said on Hardball that in Philadelphia, people would say that Romney was guilty of “lyin’, denyin’, and alibiin’ ” during his debate performance, which was widely considered to be a victory for the Republican nominee over the president.
Nearly a week after the first debate, the polls are beginning to reflect what the Obama camp had feared would happen following the president’s lackluster performance. Pew Research has a new poll out that shows Romney up by 4 points among likely voters, 49% to 45%, after trailing Obama by eight points last month. The poll also showed Romney dead even with the President among registered voters, 46% to 46%, a dramatic improvement after trailing by nine points, 42% to 51%, in September.
Nutter did not give the Pew results much weight, stating boldly, “The only poll that matters is the poll on election day.”
The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman, however, seemed a bit more concerned, and called President Obama’s self-deprecating remarks made on Sunday about his own debate performance “borderline cringe-worthy.”
Fineman also pointed to new signs of internal strife among Obama advisers, who felt compelled to call a meeting 10 minutes before the debate even ended.
“There’s a certain amount of Monday morning finger-pointing going on around the camp,” said Fineman. “And interestingly, that’s something you didn’t see at all in 2008.”
Fineman also countered Nutter’s criticism that the widespread negativism surrounding the president’s performance focuses too much on style, not substance. “This isn’t style points, Mr. Mayor,” said a solemn Fineman. “This is substance. Part of being president is being able to explain what you’ve accomplished…The President just simply didn’t do it last time.”
Despite Fineman’s counterpoints, Obama’s dip in the polls, and the ongoing criticism among both Democrats and Republicans of President Obama’s debate performance last week, Nutter remains optimistic about his candidate’s chances of re-election.
Nutter ended the segment with this thought on Romney’s apparent triumph over Obama in Denver: ”It’s easier, quite frankly, for Mitt Romney to have multiple positions on the same issue because he has no plans, he has no ideas, he has no proposals. He’s not ready for prime time.”