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After his performance on ABC’s This Week With Democratic Operative George Stephanopoulos Economist Paul Krugman will probably receive a phone call from MIT demanding that he returned their doctorate because he is making himself (and them) look stupid.
PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: This is classic Obama. He really, really wants to be the president of national unity. He’s always wanted to be the reconciliation candidate and his instincts always in confrontations is to not go for the jugular but to go for the capillaries. He doesn’t — did the same thing in 2008. People forget just how weak his campaign was through August of 2008 when he just was refusing to make the obvious case against McCain and then he toughened up but also…
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STEPHANOPOULOS: In the debate he toughed up in 2008.
KRUGMAN: Because he needs to be — have his head against the wall. So this was classic. This was him – this was the real Obama who does not like — he really wants to be a president of the whole nation. And he somehow has a hard time wrapping his mind around the necessity to take a tougher line.
Then Krugman said the reason Obama lost the first debate is that the “pro-Romney” media did not question the GOP Candidate’s “lies.” Krugman got so whiny that even Democratic Party strategist James Carville smacked Krugman for blaming Obama’s performance on the moderator.
KRUGMAN: But can — I don’t want to skip by without talking about the facts issue, because Romney…
STEPHANOPOULOS: We have plenty of time coming up.
KRUGMAN: I don’t know whether to blame Lehrer or blame the president but it was kind of amazing because Romney was not only saying things that are not true, he was saying things that his own campaign had previously said weren’t true. The one that got me was not the stuff about taxes but the thing about covering people with pre-existing conditions which his plan does not, which he has said that before and his campaign has walked it back in the past and there he was right again saying, well, my plan covers people with pre-existing conditions which is displaying a kind of contempt to the public..
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you think it’s the moderator’s job to call him on that…
KRUGMAN: No, I’m not sure whose job it is, but it is — there’s a contempt for the whole process. There’s a contempt for us people, because he’s thinking the news media will not cover me on this, as long as they say it forcefully they’ll say I won, which is more of the ways…
MATALIN: Oh, you’re going to say the press is against Obama now?
KRUGMAN: The press just doesn’t know how to handle flat out untruths.
CARVILLE: Look, they asked one time Lee Trevino, great golfer, who was having trouble with putting and they asked him if he thought he needed a new putter and he famously said, no, it’s not the arrow it’s the Indian. OK. It’s not Jim Lehrer. President Obama was sitting right there. He would have confronted Governor Romney on any number of issues and drawn the distinction.
KARL: To be clear, I mean, President Obama also was loose with the facts.
KRUGMAN: They were minor fudges.
KARL: He said he had a $4 trillion plan to cut the deficit. He said health care premiums were rising at the slowest rate in 50 years neither of those was true.
KRUGMAN: Those are minor compared with…
Note: I asked the campaign about Krugman’s charge, – Lanhee Chen, Policy Director, Romney-Ryan 2012 responded with this statement.
“The attempts to confuse and misstate Governor Romney’s position on protecting those with pre-existing conditions simply will not work. His policy has been consistent and clear. First, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions who have maintained continuous coverage. This protects individuals and families who might lose their job, or who simply want to own their own insurance instead of receiving it from an employer. Second, states will have the flexibility and resources to design programs specific to the needs of those who cannot afford coverage on their own. States face very different challenges and circumstances, and will do a better job providing for their citizens than the federal government can. Governor Romney demonstrated this in Massachusetts, where he worked in bipartisan fashion to address his state’s health care problems and get coverage for 98% of the state’s residents without raising taxes.” — Lanhee Chen, Policy Director, Romney-Ryan 2012
While the campaign is being 100% truthful, I prefer the way Republican strategist Marlee Matlin put it, “You hardly credible in calling somebody else a liar.”