Debate #1: The Gloves Come Off

obama-romney by darleen75
obama-romney, a photo by darleen75 on Flickr.

The University of Denver felt the heat Wednesday evening during the first Presidential debate. Both President Obama and Governor Romney brought their A-game, but not necessarily the game needed to win America over on domestic issues.

Both President Obama and Governor Romney brought up good points over the issues of jobs, deficits, health care, and education. However, while Obama came off cool, calm, and collected, using his charm to try and woo the audience, Romney was constantly on attack, making him to be the one to look out for. There were moments when Romney gave condescending looks or comments, but his tactics prove that nice guys finish last, leaving Obama off-guard and at a disadvantage. It might have been Obama’s wedding anniversary, but his shout out to the First Lady didn’t help him win over America the way he thought it would.

One of Romney’s greatest and most memorable arguments in this debate was on deficits. Governor Romney was on the prowl, saying that the only way to fix this issue is to look at it at an economic and moral level. To do this, he said America needs to lower spending and raise economic growth. Instead of constantly borrowing from China, we need to put a test on certain programs, and if they don’t pass the test they get cut. Two things he believes needs to be removed are Obamacare and PBS. There was a point when Governor Romney looked at Jim Lehrer and said, “I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I even like you.” That to me, was a quote that put Romney ahead, politically and personality-wise, showing that no matter who or what is likeable in this country, if it is unnecessary and burdening, then it will be removed.

Obama was all about democracy in this debate, but he lost many when Romney indicated that the President has put 90 billion dollars into green jobs. If he is so pro-education, why were these jobs not given towards the teachers whom he says deserve more job opportunities? He spoke about how he saved the auto industry, how there should be bigger government, and how his grandmother was able to live independently because of Medicaid, but not once did I find him throwing out the aggressive arguments he has claimed to have made throughout the election. I do think it would have benefited him to throw Romney under the bus with his infamous speech that 47% of the unemployed population are moochers, but I also believe that the President did not realize how aggressive this debate would be. He has always been more about conversing with the people, so this time around left him at a shocking state.

One thing I’ll say is despite Romney’s “win” at 67% on this debate, the real loser was Jim Lehrer. It was visible that he was unable to control the candidates, and he was often spoken over by both the President and Governor Romney. No matter who had the better arguments, it was as if both candidates had the upper hand over Lehrer, often speaking out of turn or over time.

The candidates’ final arguments are what chose a winner in my eyes. Before they closed, Romney argued that to fix partisan gridlock, there needs to be a collaboration between the parties. Obama agreed, as they both often did throughout the debate, but while they agreed on some, they disagreed on most. Obama tried to battle it out after Romney stated that on Day 1 of Presidency, he planned to repeal Obamacare. According to the President, “Governor Romney’s going to have a busy first day,” but busy or not, I didn’t seem too enticed by what his first day plans were. President Obama is consistent in his arguments, but they aren’t as strong and convincing as Governor Romney’s.

In the end, President Obama remained true to his faith on the American people. His stand-out moment of the debate was when he asked how to build on our strengths, and went on to say, “I promised that I’d fight every single day for the American people.” Has he fought? Yes. But has he succeeded? Not so much. Romney closed with a concern “about the direction America [is] heading,” and he asked what kind of American do we want for us and our children? Romney ended on a strong note, and I do agree with America that he won this first debate.

The second debate is right around the corner, and our campus is readily and proudly preparing for it. It will take more than this first debate to get undecided voters to make their decision, but at least now the candidates know what they are in for. Hopefully the next debate isn’t Obama’s birthday; otherwise, he’d really fall apart, and frankly, he can’t afford another loss.

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