First Presidential Debate: Reactions and Analysis

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 03:  U.S. President Barac...
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The first presidential debate has just ended, and now the analyses will begin rolling in from the various other media sources. Here, it has to be said that Romney was aggressive, and forceful. If you take out the obvious repetitions of talking points, then Mitt Romney effectively controlled the conversation and effectively rolled right over Jim Lehrer, the moderator.

Now, while it is apparent that Romney dominated the conversation, lets look at the total picture. Obama hit Romney really well on two points. The first one about defending Medicare, and pointing out Romney’s desire to turn it into a voucher program. Secondly, he was effective in pointing out the difference in actually having a plan to deal with revenue issues. Romney made a great deal of his remarks about taxes, and brought the issue back up in a different segment.

President Obama played it pretty cool, and answered in his usual way. He showed so much restraint, too much for this format. He could have nailed him on the auto industry during the segment in the role of the federal government. This and other sharp barbs were left on the table.

And I would be remiss if I did not mention the most glaring thing of the night. During the entire 90 minutes, Jim Lehrer did not raise the issue of the 47 percent remarks. Not even once? That should have been mentioned. How a president sees the country matters. President Obama could have raised it just to see what Romney would have said in rebuttal. This being a major point of discussion for the past three weeks, it seems like Jim Lehrer was softballing by not putting this question out there. All around a missed opportunity.

While Romney established himself as a competent debater and a person who can bully a moderator something awful, he fell short in terms of a vision of what he has planned for the American people. My assessment? Mitt Romney held his own, but as far as a win? Um. No. President Obama could have been more forceful, but his calm deflection of many of Romney’s talking points means that this was really a tie. Don’t agree? Lets get your comments in. Who won in your opinion? Was it Romney or Obama?


Marc W. Polite



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  1. Romney swayed the crowd, which gave him a slight advantage over Obama the first round. Hopefully, Obama gets more aggressive the next time around.

  2. I don’t see it as a win for either candidate. All Romney proved, in my mind, is that he is arrogant and self-serving and, unfortunately, Mr Lehrer buckled under the pressure. Mr Obama was presidential, yet far more restrained than I would have liked. I do agree, I wish the issue of the 47% and other Romney gaffes had been brought up … by the moderator – he should have added it to the agenda. I do have complete trust that the next two debates will have quite a different outcome with the incumbents pulling no punches and taking no prisoners!

  3. President Obama gave an inferior opponent an opening to gain ground on a solid lead. The president was restrained or exhausted or both and was unwilling or unable to fight. Romney was energized, focused and confident in his fact-challenged arsenal of attacks. Despite temporarily shaking off the image of a gaff-master, Romney didn’t deliver a game changer. But danger for the president looms large in the next 2 debates. Romney has momentum and the president only has 2 weeks to regain his stride. President Obama needs to remember how impressionable the electorate is. The perception of weakness could prove to be the blow that leads to his defeat. Polls don’t cast votes – people do.Last night probably didn’t move many new voters to Obama’s column. But I’m sure it gave undecided voters cause for concern. Like many others, I am still confident and committed – but i do feel a bit uneasy. The outcome of tis race is not just about president Obama’s job – it’s about my family, friends, community and country. We need the president to prevail.

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