Romney ribs Obama over debating skills

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney basked in an crowd energized by his successful debate performance during a rally in Florida on Friday, ribbing President Obama over his debating skills.


"We heard his answers. Or his non-answers, as it may be," Romney said.

The presidential candidate called the debate "a great experience" and said he "enjoyed" the back-and-forth with the president.

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"I think that Jim Lehrer did an excellent job in raising issues and giving us a chance to talk about the issues instead of the kind of gotcha interviews that happen sometimes," Romney said.

The GOP hopeful, speaking before a crowd of 5,500 in St. Petersburg, Fla. — just a few miles from the site of the Republican National Convention where he earned his party's nomination — discussed his five-point jobs plan, and seemed to acknowledge a brewing controversy over a handkerchief he used at points during Wednesday's debate.

"I've got five things - you've heard me talk about them. I don't have to look at notes to know what they are, by the way," Romney said.

Some on the internet had suggested Romney might have been using a cheat sheet, but the campaign said Friday it was simply a cloth to wipe his face.

By contrast, Romney suggested the president had been unable to articulate his vision for improving the unemployment situation.

"He had an opportunity to explain his jobs plan. Did you hear what he had to say? I didn't either," Romney said.

Romney refrained from a direct discussion of Friday's jobs report, however. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced in the morning that the economy had added 114,000 jobs in September, and, along with additional revisions upward from previous months, the unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent.

Earlier in the day, Romney said the unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent for the first time in President Obama's term "primarily due to the fact that more and more people have stopped looking for work.”

Instead, Romney chose to focus on his widely heralded debated performance, looking to harness momentum in the pivotal swing state of Florida. A We Ask America poll released Friday and conducted in the day after the debate showed Romney with a 49-46 percent lead in the race for the state's crucial 29 electoral votes.

Romney's wife Ann, who introduced the candidate, said after Wednesday she was "looking forward to the next debate" and also looking forward to the showdown next Thursday between Paul Ryan and Joe Biden.

"I was so thrilled at the debate to see my husband unfiltered, without any negative ads and any media trying to interpret what's in his heart," Ann Romney said.