Debate Etch-A-Sketch: Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up!


by Félix Pérez

Did Mitt Romney’s Etch-A-Sketch makeover burst into full public view last night?

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Viewers of the first presidential debate might have been confused at the Romney who was on stage versus the one who’s been out on the campaign trail. Gone were the claims that class size does not matter, that the nation does not need more teachers and that educator-led unions are the villains of public education.

“I don’t know who was there (at the debate), but it wasn’t the Mitt Romney by his past actions and words,” said Arizona high school math teacher Dennis Van Roekel.

He supports vouchers for private schools. He says class size doesn’t matter. He says kids ought to have all the education they can afford. And then he says if the cost of college is too high, ask your parents for a loan. That’s the Mitt Romney who’s been campaigning for president, and the one who was there last night said things totally different. He used Etch-A-Sketch to create a new president, said Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association.

Educators React to Presidential Debate

Debate Romney:
“I’m not going to cut education funding.”
Pre-debate Romney:
I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It’s very much consistent with what I put out earlier.” The Ryan plan, written by Romney’s vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, would cut education funding by $115 billion over 10 years and eliminate more than 190,000 Head Start slots.

While in his first year as governor of Massachusetts, Romney imposed the second-largest cuts to schools nationwide, while cutting taxes for 278 of the wealthiest people in the state.

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Debate Romney:
“I reject the idea that I don’t believe in great teachers or more teachers.”
Pre-debate Romney:
“All the talk about ‘we need smaller classroom size’…that’s promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers.”

Debate Romney:
“I don’t have any plan to cut . . . grants that go to people going to college.”
Pre-debate Romney:
The Romney-Ryan budget plan would cut Pell Grants to 9.6 million college students by more than $1,000 in 2014, and, over the next decade, more than 1 million students would lose this aid entirely.

Debate Romney:
“The place you put your money just makes a pretty clear indication of where your heart is.”
Pre-debate Romney:
Romney’s tax proposal would force a $2,000 tax hike on average middle-class families with children, while the wealthiest five percent of Americans would get a tax cut of $87,000.

Even with all his changes, though, there was one issue on which the reinvented Romney didn’t walk away from the old Romney: private school vouchers. Last night, Romney touted his plan to turn Title I and special education funding into vouchers.

“I happen to believe, I want the kids that are getting federal dollars from IDEA or Title I, I want them to be able to go to the school of their choice.”

Reader Comments

  1. Is “Hey, Future.” a complete sentence? My first graders would point out that you need a noun and a verb to form a sentnece. I guess Future is a few years smarter than you!

  2. Romney dominated the conversation with deceit and deception. The fact checkers found 5 major whoppers in Romney’s claims. But he was, straight faced, energetic and convincing while spinning his deciet, I’ll give him that.

  3. Romney as President will only be about one thing – the ultimate “corporate takeover”. The right wants to take over the country to create avenues for capital in Education and Healthcare using tax dollars. They will take what they can until we realize what we did. It is only about money for the right – nothing else. Don’t sell us out.

  4. What has Obama done for education? I have not seen any of his policies influence my classrooms at all. Does anyone ever hold the child’s first teacher accountable??? The child’s parents are all too willing to dump their child in school and we feed them 2 squares a day and send home meals in a backpack for the weekend. I am tired of my hard earned money supporting the system users. More and more programs are given to those with their hands out for the taking. I think it is true Romney supporters sign their checks on the front and Obama supporters sign the back of the checks. Who is going to make Americans stop REDISTRIBUTING the middle class funds to help the POOR? Many of the poor are getting more benefits and their intake is higher than many middle class people. Also, I have not experienced the tax breaks Obama brags about. He kept attacking Romney’s plan….What is Obama’s plan….Oh that’s right it wasn’t on the teleprompter…..Scarey…2016 is coming….you should see the movie… It is your future!

    1. You ought to not be allowed to teach because you really don’t care about children and just care about your paycheck.

    2. Hey, Future. You might want to go back to school. “Scary” doesn’t have an “e” in it. I’m sure my third graders would point that out to you.

    3. Record number of filibusters (360 and counting), obstructionist, party of NO… (see link
      1. Supply Side Economics (1980s) otherwise known as Trickledown or Reaganomics reduced marginal tax rates from 71.4% to 28% and capital gains from 39.9% to 20% for top earners, a trend that elevated investment dollars to a realm of “untouchable.”
      2. Deregulation of the financial industry- Gramm, Leach, Bliley Act (1999) repealed the Glass, Steagall Act (1933). Glass-Steagall placed a wall of separation between FDIC backed Community/Commercial bank holdings and Wall Street Investment Bank holdings, allowing them to be combined and entered into Wall Street’s investment market.
      3. Free Trade Agreements- NAFTA (1994), GATT- Uruguay version (1994), WTO (1999), accelerated the corporate model used throughout the 1960s to outsource the Garment, textile, and shoe manufacturing industries to South America, then in the late ‘60s, early 70’s RCA offshored our electronics (TV, transistors, Stereo, etc.) to Japan, as well as toy manufacturing, then US Steel followed. When NAFTA was passed by a Republican Congress, it was the beginning of the end for our magnificent manufacturing sector, but when China joined the WTO in 2001, even our jobs in Mexico left for China ($1.36/hr. avg. wage today), and the solidification of the PLUTOCRATIC takeover of the USA was nearly complete. Also, FTAs meant tariff-free access to the gigantic USA market! USA Corporations evolved into “multinationals,” creating the “global economy,” straddling the globe searching for ever cheaper work forces, kicking the USA worker to the curb for a larger profit share, but still expecting the dwindling middle class to purchase these cheap goods, even as their jobs were being scattered to the four winds, and they were being displaced to benefit the profit margins of these same “multinationals,” their CEOs, and the stock holders. Not to mention the effect of investments in tax shelters like long term capital gains, tax deferred stock options, tax sheltered annuities, offshore accounts, etc. Also, these international transactions are overseen by the IMF and World Bank which undoubtedly receive some sort of compensation for their role in setting up foreign trade policies that foster increased international trade…
      4. Emboldened by the developments above, the smartest men in the room perpetrated the perfect storm. Remember Enron, the Savings & Loan crisis, Long Term Capital Management (a hedge fund firm), Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme, how about the Wall Street Sub-prime mortgage crisis that ultimately collapsed the financial house of cards? $4.7 Trillion bail-out (by some estimates when you consider the collective, collateral damage to the economy in lost real-estate value (an estimated 35% decline after 2009), homes in foreclosure or under water, lost jobs and the lost income circulating throughout the economy, as well as the lost revenue it entails, retail decline, lost stock value, etc., it could come closer to $20 TRILLION lost).
      Your statement about “redistribute” is ironic. In my opinion, 30 years of supply side economics has redistributed the wealth, not to the POOR, but to the TOP. (See: “100 year history of marginal tax rates,” “wealth distribution,” etc.) Here’s another link to check about the redistribution of wealth:

    4. Sorry, I failed to mention Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission (2010):
      This law unleashed the unbridled influence of BIG $$$ from Super PACs: Karl Rove, Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers, etc., as well as foreign investors who can purchase influence in our national elections without disclosure to buy elections.
      I also failed to mention Bill S3816, “Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act (2010) a down to earth, common sense bill to help struggling USA corporations and small businesses compete by cutting tax rates and ending tax loopholes for offshoring corporations. (see what the bill contained, who supported it , who opposed it and how they voted!)
      Consider Germany, a nation with its fiscal house in relative order. They level a 19% tariff on imports (except for some Ag. and raw materials) to protect their industrial/manufacturing base, keep wages high (German manufacturing is largely Union) and thereby foster the circulation of disposable income throughout the German economy as a means to maintain and perpetuate their prosperity in a consumer environment and maintain a healthy balance between GDP and job growth/maintainance.

  5. Mitt Romney listens. He can change positions in response to more and better information. He will get our economy going, so there will be more revenue available for schools and every essential responsibility of government. Things that some people regard as essential will be cut. I can’t wait for Romney’s inauguration. It won’t be the end of difficulties, but our country will be on a better path, to a brighter future. It will not be easy, but it has to be done. Taxing a bigger economy at a lower rate is the way to go. I guess most Americans are not good enough at math to understand that. People who accuse me of voting against my own best interest for supporting candidates who don’t promise the moon don’t get it.

    1. Wendell, as a resident of Mass…I saw first hand the NOTHING Mitt does…He didn’t help education or jobs in my state. The legislature just dragged the flipper along. Our job growth was 47th in the country. Mitt is a true blowhard and will say anything to anybody at any time to get votes. He came back to Mass to be Governor solely to increase his credintials to BE PRESIDENT….for no other reason…He left after the first term so he could start his run to be “King”… People are only there to help and serve him. As an educator, I would have hoped for a more discerning understanding of the way he miscalculates and fails to give REAL specifics on issues…

    2. @Wendell. you are right, “He can change positions in response to more and better information.” Better for who/what? His current poll numbers? The group he happens to be addressing? That alone, should be enough reason NOT to vote for Mitt Romney. Whatever the reason you feel you need to vote for him, who’s to say he won’t change his mind as soon as he’s elected. Look at his past record as Governor of Mass.; look at the testimonial of someone who lived under his regime. He will leave the 47% (and more) is his dust if he becomes the POTUS. I believe what he says when he thinks the cameras are off: “I’m not concerned about he very poor,” “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people.” …..And the “you people” quotes by his wife, Ann…. Those are the true feelings of The Romneys. You forgot “he can change his skin color to try and appease the ethnicity he will be addressing as well.”

    3. You’re a dreamer. Romney changes positions based on votes. He is going to cut all your tax deductions, healthcare, social security, medicaid, medicare, educators and there won’t be anymore government contracts except for the military in their war with Iran that he will start.

  6. Obama has his clocked cleaned. To bad the POTUS didn’t have a leg to stand on. One can only imagine how he’s doing behind the scenes with Joe Biden at his side. No wonder why the country is worse off in the last 4 years.

    1. Where have you been? The country was in an economic nose dive when Obama took office. He was left with a financial catastrophe. We have gone from free-fall double digit unemployment when he took office to 7.8% He extended help to major car manufacturers in Detroit that saved their plants. Do you remember their thank-you commercial to the American people during the Super Bowl a couple of years ago?
      Health care for ALL people is becoming a reality. I know my over 18 year old children are appreciative of the health laws that have been passed during Obama’s term.
      He has brought our troops home from Iraq. Reminder: This was a war initiated on a lie. Think of the money and lives lost due to the misinformation given not only to the American public but to American law makers.
      Women’s rights have been upheld via the Lilly Ledbetter act.
      There is a LOT that has improved despite the many voices and politicians who wanted Obama to fail from before he took office.

  7. I swear I heard Romney comment favorably on vouchers, meaning my tax dollars would go to various religious schools, or any kooky classroom people could think up. Not my money! Pay for it yourself! Our system offers educational opportunities to all who need them. I am willing to pay more to make the system better for teachers and students alike.

  8. Just another flip flop Romney but he had a larger audience 60 million Americans so his aim was to please so he took Barak Obama’s words out of Mr Presidents mouth. That is why Obama look out of joint, There are still 2 debates and I expect we will see a different Barak Obama next time with some FIRE AND BRIMSTONE !!!!!!!!!

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