Gov. Tom Corbett only caught the second half of Tuesday’s presidential debate but from what he saw after returning to the Governor’s Residence following his trip to Philadelphia for Arlen Specter’s funeral, he felt he could declare Republican candidate Mitt Romney as the winner.
“I give it to Gov. Romney. I think a lot of pundits are saying it’s a draw,” Corbett said.
“To me, draws go to the challenger.”
Corbett shared his thoughts about the debate following a ceremonial bill signing on the state firefighter grant program at a Susquehanna Twp. fire house.
He said he was not surprised that at the points in the debate the two candidates went toe-to-toe in a testy exchange. “It’s inevitable in a situation like that when you are moving around and you have that chance to respond,” Corbett said. “I can tell you I wanted to get in watching it.”
He chided President Obama for refusing to answer questions or not answer them directly. One, in particular, that stuck out, he said, was when Romney asked the president, “explain why you didn’t introduce your package on Immigration reform in Year One like you promised you’d do. (Obama) never got close to answer.”
He also applauded Romney indicating that Obama’s record for the last four years “is abysmal compared to what you promised four years ago. So why should we take on faith that you are going to be able to change it in the next four years.” He also liked how Romney challenged Obama about what he said the day after the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya.
He said Romney, by far, is the better debater.
“He knows the facts and is ready to go,” Corbett said.
Asked if Pennsylvanians can look forward to Corbett engaging in a debate like that in two years, Corbett said, “Not necessarily. …. Never put words in my mouth.”
His press secretary, Kevin Harley, was firmer with the answer to that question.
“No,” Harley said, although he conceded that with Corbett’s background as a prosecutor and teacher, that kind of format would play to the governor’s strengths. Still, Harley said he’s too much of a control freak and would rather see Corbett in a situation where he can stick to the talking points.
Corbett also made note of how recent polls have Romney closing in on Obama’s lead.
“We’re in much better shape than people said we were a month ago and I felt good about it a month ago because we were starting to move,” Corbett said of Romney’s support in Pennsylvania. “There’s an opportunity there.”