October 3rd, 2012 marked the start of the Presidential Debates between Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. This is debate is important because, for many Americans, it is their first time hearing Governor Romney’s take on certain social and economic policies. It also takes place after a bad press month for the Romney campaign with attacks from the left about his remark on the 47% of Americans that don’t pay federal taxes. For this debate, Romney would need to be on his A game if he wants a chance at becoming the President of the United States. For Obama, his same zeal and charismatic energy would be needed to retain his seat in the White House as Commander-in-Chief.
The debate initially began with remarks from Jim Lehrer, the moderator for the event and he immediately gave the floor to President Obama for his 2 minutes of speech on the economy. Obama began by wishing his wife, Michelle Obama, a happy 20th marriage anniversary and from there he went straight to business.
Overall the debate was interesting but still lacked the substance I believe the American people were looking for. The candidates only minimally answered the questions that the moderator asked and often time the topic of conversation was lost in argument. For example, Governor Romney didn’t give enough details on his actual economic plan because he was too busy defending, as the President put it, his $5 trillion tax cut. President Obama seemed lethargic and disinterested in being in Colorado for the debate. It seemed as if he had a plan to talk to the American people and in executing that plan he failed to adequately defend himself against some of Romney’s false statements. This was evident when Obama failed to address Governor Romney’s classification of Obama’s tax plan as “trickle down” which is false.
One thing the President did do a good job at was keeping his composure. He never seemed faltered by any of Romney’s claims and he seemed to be sharing control of the debate with the Governor. From the non-verbal cues, it was apparent that Obama was more comfortable in his position as he tended to look at the audience more often than Romney (which seemed to be hardly ever). He smiled respectively at Romney’s attempts to be funny along with a few other things that were noticeable.
Governor Romney was a livelier candidate and also seemed to be more prepared. However, this was Romney’s moment to paint a picture of himself for the American people. Instead he attempted to paint a rather ugly picture of President Obama and told the American people he won’t be the same way. Instead of talking about the policies he planned to implement, Governor Romney tried his best to discredit the President’s policies and his handling of certain situations.
To this moment, I guarantee you that not even 3 out of 10 Americans can speak to more than one policy Romney plans to implement if elected President of the United States. That’s mostly because he didn’t touch on them too much during the debate. He may have made a mention here or there, but the things the American people want to know, such as: what Romney plans to cut to fund such policies, who’s taxes will be increased, what, if any, programs will have their funding reduced or eliminated to pay for the policies Romney wants to implement. These are questions the people want to know and Governor Romney didn’t answer them well enough.
In all, both candidates were just okay at the first presidential debate. The next Presidential Debate will be held on October 16th, 2012 at Hofstra University in Hempstead New York. I believe everyone is expecting President Obama to come out in full force in response to his loss in the last debate. I hope both candidates are prepared and ready for a big show down.