Obama camp presses Romney to share policy details in first debate
By Daniel Strauss - 10/03/12 07:52 AM ET
President Obama’s campaign is pressing Mitt Romney to share more policy details in Wednesday night’s presidential debate.
In a new memo and accompanying Web video, Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter says Romney has delivered vague statements on his plan to improve the economy and help American small businesses, and that voters will expect more specifics as the two candidates face off.
The memo and video were released Wednesday ahead of the first debate between the candidates at the University of Denver in Colorado.
"He doesn’t have any specific plans to move us forward — only tired repeats that will take us back. On job creation, deficit reduction, and the middle class, Romney’s promises are nothing more than platitudes covering up a collection of contradictory positions," the memo says.
"In short, they aren’t serious steps to move our country forward. So, Romney can use tonight’s debate to fill in those details and finally, for the first time, explain his proposals or readjust his positions. Or he can spend 90 minutes doing what he does best: attacking the president, distorting his own record, and avoiding any and all details on his plans for this country," Cutter wrote.
She goes on to say that the campaign expects Romney to tout his plans for boosting the economy as well as promises to help the nation become energy independent by 2020, grow small businesses, improve schools, push new trade agreements, and create 12 million new jobs. On each point, Cutter writes that Romney’s statements have lacked any specifics.
The memo also tries to lower expectations for the president ahead of the crucial first debate, claiming that even though Romney will fail to give specifics, he'll likely be declared the night's winner.
"Tonight will surely be interesting. Expectations are set – if history tells us anything it’s that, as the challenger, Mitt Romney is likely to be called the winner by pundits," the memo reads. "But the real test will be the reaction of the voters watching at home. Americans have been clear about what they want to see – and where they believe Mitt Romney has fallen short."
The Obama campaign repeatedly has argued that Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have failed to provide details on their proposals, in particular their plans for tax reform, claiming that the “math doesn’t add up.”
Romney has said if he was elected, he would sit down with lawmakers from both parties to hammer out the details of his tax plan. The GOP candidate has pledged to lower tax rates and said his plan would be deficit-neutral.
Romney surrogates have said that the campaign would gradually roll out more specific policy proposals in the run-up to November.
This week, Romney has provided more details on his tax and immigration reform plans, floating a proposed $17,000 cap on individual tax deductions and saying that he would not revoke deportation waivers for illegal immigrants granted by the Obama administration.