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Obama: Romney Presented 'Salesmanship' Not 'Leadership' in Debate

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A fiery President Obama ramped up his attacks against Mitt Romney’s debate performance, telling supporters Monday night that what they saw from his opponent in Denver last week “wasn’t leadership, that’s salesmanship.”

Speaking to 6,000 supporters at a fundraising concert in San Francisco, Obama blasted the GOP nominee for not telling the truth about his $5 trillion tax cut.

“Romney promised that his tax cuts would include the top one percent.  He promised this.  But most of the economists who crunched the numbers said Gov. Romney’s plan would either blow up the deficit or raise taxes on the middle class.  It’s one or the other.  That’s how arithmetic works,” Obama said.

“So a few weeks ago, you know, you could start seeing he was figuring out this isn’t maybe selling that well.  And then a few nights ago, somebody, a guy pretending to be Mitt Romney stood on a stage next to me and said he’s changing his plan,” the president said to laughter from the enthusiastic crowd.

“He’s just going to pretend it doesn’t exist.  What $5 trillion tax cut?  I don’t know anything about a $5 trillion tax cut?  Don’t pay any attention to that tax cut behind the curtain?” Obama said mockingly.  “During the debate, he said there is no economist who can say Mitt Romney’s tax plan adds $5 trillion to the deficit, if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan.  Thanks for clearing that up.  We’ll take your word for it.”

As he has in recent days, the president continued to ridicule Romney for saying he would cut funding for public broadcasting to help reduce the nation’s deficit.

“You didn’t know this, but for all you moms and kids out there, you should have confidence that finally, somebody is cracking down on Big Bird.  Elmo has been seen in a white Suburban.  He’s driving for the border,” Obama said in what appeared to be a reference to OJ Simpson’s infamous white Bronco.  “Oscar is hiding out in his trash can.”

Obama, who has made fun of his own lackluster debate performance, explained that “after the debate, I had a bunch of folks come up to me, saying ‘don’t be so polite, don’t be so nice.’”

“I want everybody to understand something.  What was being presented wasn’t leadership.  That’s salesmanship,” he said of Romney.  “That is not a jobs plan.  That’s not a plan to grow the economy, that’s not change we can believe in.  That’s a relapse.  We have been there.  We have tried that.  We are not going back.  We are moving forward.”

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