Media figures cheered Republican Mitt Romney's performance in the first presidential debate, claiming he offered specifics and an economic plan to contrast with that of President Obama. In fact, independent analysis shows Romney provided vague details at best.
Media Figures Touted Mitt Romney's “Plan” And “Specifics”
Erick Erickson Claimed Romney Gave “A 5 Pt Plan.” In a post on his Twitter feed, CNN contributor Erick Erickson claimed that Romney gave a five-point plan during the presidential debate even though “the Obama campaign said [Romney would] give no specifics.”
Andrea Tantaros: “Saying 'Romney Doesn't Have A Plan' After Tonight Just Doesn't Hold Up.” In a post on her Twitter feed, Fox News host Andrea Tantaros claimed: “Saying 'Romney doesn't have a plan' after tonight just doesn't hold up.”
Laura Ingraham: “Romney Is Burying Obama In Specifics.” In an October 3 post on Twitter, Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham claimed that Romney was “burying Obama in specifics.”
David Limbaugh: “Romney Is The Worst Possible Matchup For Obama Because He Is So Specific.” In an October 3 post to his Twitter feed, conservative commentator David Limbaugh wrote: “Romney is the worst possible matchup for Obama because he is so specific and so precise and so knowledgeable and so quick on his feet.”
Ben Shapiro: Obama Saying “Romney Lacking Details” Is “Absurd.” In an October 3 post to his Twitter feed about the presidential debate, conservative talk radio host Ben Shapiro claimed it was “absurd” for Obama to say “Romney lacking details”:
Steve Doocy: Romney Stuck To The Facts. “His Secret Weapon? Just Stating It Like It Is.” On Fox News' Fox& Friends, co-host Steve Doocy introduced a segment on stats and figures used during the debate by claiming that Romney stuck to the facts. He added: “His secret weapon? Just stating it like it is.” Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. agreed, claiming Romney offered “substance,” “specifics,” and “hard facts.”
DOOCY: Zing, Mitt Romney comes out swinging last night, and he did stick to the facts, a tactic rarely seen among politicians. His secret weapon? Just stating it like it is. Peter Johnson Jr. joins us live right now, Peter?
JOHNSON: It was substance, it was specifics, it was hard facts. And, in doing it, Mitt Romney crushed the president last night, and I think everybody is agreeing on that. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/4/12]
In Fact, Romney Hid In “Pockets Of Vagueness”
Ezra Klein: Romney “Was Able To Hide In Those ... Pockets Of Vagueness He Created.” MSNBC policy analyst and Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein noted that despite Romney's insistence that he has a “lengthy description” of his health care plan, the health care plan on Romney's website is “about half the length of an average op-ed column.” Klein added that Romney “was able to hide in the sort of pockets of vagueness he created.” From MSNBC's post-debate analysis:
KLEIN: The description [of Romney's healthcare plan] he's talking about, it's on his website, it's about 396 words. It's about half the length of an average op-ed column. It is not a lengthy description. It's not a specific description. But he kind of got away with saying it was lengthy without facing a challenge and I think that's what you had for kind of a lot of the debate tonight
KLEIN: [Romney] was able to hide in those sort of pockets of vagueness he created.
That first third of the debate, where they were arguing about taxes and in particular whether or not the tax cut Romney has would cost five trillion dollars, that was an entire debate over a particular missing number in Romney's plan, which is “if you're going to pay for this, how will you do it?” Romney, by saying that he won't give specifics but he will do it, was able to say simultaneously that it will be paid for but he's not actually telling you anything he'll cut to do so. [MSNBC's post-debate analysis, 10/3/12, via Media Matters]
AP: “Romney Has Refused To Say Which Tax Breaks He Would Eliminate To Pay For The Lower Rates.” Following the debate, the Associated Press noted that “Romney has promised to balance the budget in eight years to 10 years, but he hasn't offered a complete plan. Instead, he's promised a set of principles, some of which ... work against his goal.” The AP further wrote that Romney has “offered only a few modest examples of government programs he'd be willing to squeeze, like subsidies to PBS and Amtrak,” and that "[t]he knock on Romney's plan, which Obama accurately cited, is that Romney has refused to say which tax breaks he would eliminate to pay for the lower rates." [Associated Press, 10/3/12]