I think Ezra Klein nailed this one when he wrote today:
Early in the campaign, Team Obama made a crucial decision: They weren’t going to run against “multiple-choice Mitt.” Rather, of the various Romneys on offer to them — the Massachusetts moderate, the tea party conservative — they were simply going to choose one and stick with it.The Obama campaign just posted a video of President Obama speaking to an enthusiastic crowd. Here's the video and transcript for those who can't watch the video online. President Obama makes it abundantly clear that the person he debated last night was not the real Mitt Romney.
Now, the reason I was in Denver, obviously was to see all of you and it's always pretty. But we also had our first debate last night. And when I got on to the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn't of been Mitt Romney because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year, promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that. The real Mitt Romney said we don't need any more teachers in our classrooms. But, [Crowd yells Boo.] don't Boo, Vote! [Crowd cheers.]
But the fellow on stage last night, he loves teachers; can't get enough of them. The Mitt Romney we all know invested in companies that were called "pioneers of outsourcing jobs to other countries." But the guy on stage last night, he said that he doesn't even know that there are such laws that encourage outsourcing. He's never heard of them, never heard of them; never heard of tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. He said that if it's true, he must need a new accountant. Now we know for sure it was not the real Mitt Romney because he seems to be doing just fine with his current accountant. So you see the man on stage last night, he does not want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney's decisions and what he's been saying for the last year. And that's because he knows full well that we don't want what he's been selling for the last year. [Loud applause from crowd.]
So Governor Romney may dance around his positions, but if you want to be president you owe the American people the truth. So here's the truth: Governor Romney can not pay for his $5 trillion tax plan without blowing up the deficit or sticking it to the middle class. That's the math. We can't afford to go down that road again. We can't afford another round of budget busting tax cuts for the wealthy. We can't afford to gut our investments in education or clean energy or research & technology. We can't afford to rollback regulations on Wall Street, or on big oil companies or insurance companies. We can not afford to double down on the same top down economic policies that got us into this mess. That is not a plan to create jobs. That is not a plan to grow the economy. That is not change that is a relapse. We don't want to go back there. We've tried it, it didn't work, and we are not going back, we are going forward.
I've got a different view about how we create jobs and prosperity. This country doesn't succeed when we only see the rich getting richer. We succeed when the middle class gets bigger. We grow our economy not from the top down, but from the middle out. We don't believe that anybody is entitled to success in this country, but we do believe in something called opportunity. We believe in a country where hard work pays off and responsibilities rewarded and everybody's getting a fair shot and everybody's doing their fair share and everybody plays by the same rules. That's the country we believe in. That's what I'm fighting for. That's why I'm running for a second term for President of the United States and that's why I want you vote.