Advisers: Romney performance will jump-start GOP campaign

Say debate clearly won by the Republican presidential candidate; 'extremely strong'

Oct 4, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

By Liz Skinner

Mitt Romney's performance in his first presidential debate with Barack Obama was stronger than many financial advisers expected and has renewed the faith of supporters who were beginning to worry about the Republican's chances.

Even Mr. Obama's supporters concede that the president will need to perk up by the next debate or he's going to be moving out of the White House in January.

“As an investor it was quite clear to me that Governor Romney articulated an economic plan and a vision for the country that provides a greater level of transparency and predictability to the capital markets, specifically on taxation and deductions, as well as regulatory policy,” said Aaron Kennon, chief executive of Clear Harbor Asset Management.

He said that if Americans had never viewed the two candidates that it would be clear that Mr. Romney “had better command of the issues” and seemed to prioritize job creation and the economy, which is what Americans are most concerned about today.

Mr. Kennon said the American public was probably surprised to see the president appear almost unprepared at times and sometimes inarticulate.

Financial adviser Paul Auslander, a supporter of Mr. Obama, said the president's handlers “had better let Mr. Obama start drinking caffeinated coffee or we'll be in trouble.”

Mr. Auslander, chief executive of American Financial Advisors Inc., and president of the Financial Planning Association, said he worries that the portion of Americans who are just starting to think about who they'll cast a vote for Nov. 6 last night might have viewed Mr. Romney as more dynamic, “even if he was short on details.”

What particularly concerned Mr. Auslander was how Mr. Romney was able to present such a stark contrast with the president on Medicare, the federal deficit and other issues.

“The president got too much in the weeds,” he said. “You don't need to look down making so many notes, you need to engage your opponent.”

Financial adviser Rick Holbrook, principal of Holbrook Global Strategies, said he thought Mr. Romney “was extremely strong” and did what he needed to do, which was to provide a clear vision of the future to Americans and explain why the economy hasn't performed well under Mr. Obama.

Mr. Romney described the importance of bringing down marginal tax rates to give incentives to small businesses to go out and hire people, Mr. Holbrook said.

Adviser George Papadopoulos in Novi, Mich., said he was surprised how unprepared Mr. Obama appeared.

“I think Mitt Romney did very well, surprisingly well I may add,” Mr. Papadopoulos said. “This race will be close.”

Theo Gallier, chief investment officer of wealth management firm Private Ocean, said he recommends that clients not worry too much about who wins the presidency.

“With a gridlocked congress, I'm not sure it's going to matter which man wins,” Mr. Gallier said. “You really don't know what a president is going to do once they are in office anyway. who would have predicted that Obama would have had to take the kinds of actions that he has.”

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