ACU’s Cardenas: Debates Winning Independents for Romney

Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 03:32 PM

By Ronald Kessler

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Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — The presidential debates have transformed the race, moving independent voters toward Mitt Romney and giving him momentum in the final weeks of the campaign, Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, tells Newsmax.

The debates have eradicated the caricature of Romney as a scary capitalist, Cardenas says.

“This campaign had gotten to a point where slightly more folks believed the appeal to our lower instincts that the Obama campaign had hinged its chances on,” Cardenas says. “That message was look, I haven’t maybe done a great job for you, but this but this man Romney is going to come in and dismantle our safety net, and he’s an elitist who has little concern for your welfare.”

Urgent Poll: Obama or Romney? Who Won the Second Debate?

With one million members, the American Conservative Union is the preeminent organization representing the full spectrum of conservative thought. It runs the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which dominates the conservative political agenda, and publishes an annual “Rating of Congress,” the gold standard for assessing members’ ideology.

“If you woke up after watching Tuesday night’s debate and were unable to recall what the president’s plans were for the next four years, there is nothing wrong with your memory,” Cardenas says. “There is no plan.”

The boost to Romney’s chances because of the first debate was similar to what happened in 1980 with Ronald Reagan.

“At that point Jimmy Carter operatives had painted an image of him as a tired, old, intellectually deficient former actor who was not up to the task of being president of the United States,” Cardenas says. “Enough Americans had bought that appeal to our lower instincts so that Ronald Reagan was pretty much at the same place where Mitt Romney was prior to the first debate.”

Reagan showed in his first debate that he was none of the above.

“Rather, he was a charming, bright man with big ideas for our country, and the result was an overwhelming victory after the first debate,” Cardenas says. “I believe that Mitt Romney has accomplished the very same things that Ronald Reagan accomplished. He shattered the image that the Democrats had spent hundreds of millions of dollars forging. He has showed that he is a very confident, very caring leader whose whole mission and task of seeking the presidency is to bring prosperity to all Americans and to put our nation back in its rightful place as a leader of the free world.”

Urgent Poll: Obama or Romney? Who Won the Second Debate?

He accomplished that “with a commanding style and substance,” Cardenas says.

In the first debate, “Romney addressed each of the critical issues facing our country convincingly,” Cardenas says.”He exposed the president's failed four years for what they are and went beyond criticizing the president by setting forth his own vision over the next four years.”

By contrast, “Once Obama had to confront his record for the past four years and Mitt Romney laid it bare he was unable to justify his initiatives,” Cardenas says. “More troubling, he was unable to share a clear vision with America as to how his policies would make things better after the terrible record we have had these four years.”

So, Cardenas says, Obama has been “left in an uninspiring role of seeking the presidency for the sake of a presidency and not for the sake of the welfare of the American people.”

By refusing to look Romney in the eye during the first debate, “The president not only appeared defenseless, but he appeared to almost be waving the white flag at the end of the debate. Overall these debates have improved governor Romney's standing, especially among independent voters.”

Commenting on Hillary Clinton’s statement that she takes responsibility for any security failures leading up to the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Cardenas says, “Let’s pass the buck instead of the buck stops here. Blame George W. Bush for failed economic policies and hand off to Hillary on foreign policy debacles. Shows real leadership by President Obama.”

Confirming what Republican critics have been saying, Clinton referred to “an increasingly risky environment.”

While it would have been preferable to present Romney’s human side earlier in the campaign, both the media and the primaries conspired against that, Cardenas says. In contrast to Obama, the media were not interested in running such stories as how Romney rescued the 14-year-old daughter of his Bain Capital partner, as depicted in my story Media Suppress Romney’s Human Side.

The hotly contested primaries meant Romney had to devote his funds to fighting off Republican opponents.

“Mitt Romney was involved in one of the most competitive primaries the Republican party has ever known, and he was involved with contenders who candidly are very good at being aggressive and destructive of the others,” Cardenas says. “He had to survive a lengthy, expensive primary season that cut deep into our calendar.”

Urgent Poll: Obama or Romney? Who Won the Second Debate?

With the first debate, Romney energized his base to the point where at the CPAC meeting in Denver, “People gave him heartfelt ovations and did not sit down during all of his 15 minutes of his remarks,” Cardenas notes.

In the latest Gallup tracking poll, Romney has opened a lead of 51 percent vs. Obama’s 45 percent among likely voters.

Despite the advantages an incumbent enjoys, “Romney now has momentum on his side,” Cardenas says. “Anytime you can accomplish that you have to feel good about his chances to win this election on November 6th.”

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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