By DONOVAN SLACK |
10/4/12 4:02 PM EDT
Top aide David Plouffe suggested on Thursday that Team Obama was caught off guard by the "remarkable" level of "dishonesty" displayed by Mitt Romney during the debate.
"We expected an aggressive Mitt Romney – that’s who he is. And in the primary, it was clear that the truth was really not his primary concern, but I still think it was remarkable to see him start the debate essentially... saying I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut plan. Think about that," Plouffe said. "To say it doesn’t exist is a remarkable thing."
In a fact-check Wednesday night, POLITICO's Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn reported that independent experts have concluded Romney's tax plan would indeed add up to $5 trillion. But Romney's denial at the debate seemed to throw the president off course early.
"Going forward, one of the things we're going to have to address is that dishonesty," Plouffe said. "It's hard to remember a time in American politics where you had someone who's a major nominee for the presidency being that fundamentally dishonest about core parts of his campaign platform."
He said it's unclear how the debate - widely seen as a win for Romney - will affect the overall outcome.
"There’s a lot of commentary on Gov. Romney’s performance. We thought he did a very theatrically aggressive performance. Is that going to change minds in places like Ohio and Nevada or Virginia? We’ll have to see," Plouffe said. "That’s the measure. Is he going to to take the lead in Ohio? If he doesn’t, then he’s not going to be president. Is he going to take the lead in Iowa? Can he put together an Electoral College ...majority? And that’s really the question."