Presidential Debate #1
The first presidential debate featured Governor Mitt Romney overcoming a gap in favorability ratings that in March was 21 points in Obama’s favor. The President had been succeeding in painting Mitt Romney as unacceptable candidate out-of-touch with the American people. After an inspiring debate performance and resounding 50 point victory over a seemingly unprepared and unready President Barack Obama, Romney showed that either this race will be extremely close, or result in a Romney win.
During the first presidential debate, Romney convincingly responded to nearly every Obama attack; moreover, the president failed to mention Romney’s history at Bain, his offshore accounts, or controversial 47 percent comment. In short, Obama seemed bored and stared at the ground frequently. In contrast, Romney clearly told the American people what he wanted to do; he offered a five-point plan and comments regarding his ability to work with both parties while serving as Massachusetts’ governor appealed to moderate voters. The moderator, PBS’ Jim Lehrer, received some criticism for often being interrupted by the two candidates.
Winner: Major Romney Victory
The Vice Presidential Debate
Vice-President Joe Biden’s smiling and laughing dominated the vice-presidential debate. Analysts such as Charles Krauthammer say that while perhaps Biden won on substance or it was a draw, the vice-president’s lack of seriousness and condescending smirking were off-putting. The CNN real time tracker of undecided voters showed women to have far more negative reactions; concurrently, they were also seemingly more concerned with Biden’s smiling during serious topics like Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The vice-president’s word choice was also criticized – he repeatedly used phrases like “malarkey” and “stuff” to criticize his challenger, Representative Paul Ryan.
Presidential Debate #2
George Will called the second presidential debate the best debate since Kennedy and Nixon. This can be attributed to the amount of substance and seriousness. Though the candidates repeated talking points, this debate was more dynamic. In contrast to the first debate, Obama attacked frequently, focusing on Romney’s supposed five trillion dollar tax cut. Romney defended the economics behind lowering taxes and increasing revenue by broadening the tax base through eliminating deductions.
The most memorable moment was when Romney said Obama did not use the words “act of terror” during his Rose Garden address the day following the Benghazi attacks. Candy Crowley, the moderator, came to Obama’s defense, embarrassing Romney. After the debate, Crowley admitted that Romney was right, but that his choice of words was incorrect. In other words, Obama did not insinuate that it was a coordinated terrorist attack, but did refer to acts of terror in the general sense.
Polls indicated that the debate was close with Obama perhaps winning by a small margin. The polls further indicated that Romney won on the topics of job creation, taxes, and energy policy. Either way, Romney’s strong showing helped make sure he did not lose any of the ground he gained in the first debate. The debate has since been described as being vitriolic and intense, with each side accusing the other of lying during the face-to-face town hall format.
Winner: Slight Obama Victory/Draw
Presidential Debate #3
The third and final debate featured foreign policy, with CBS’ Bob Schieffer moderating. Like the first three debates, the Democratic candidate had the edge in speaking time. This could be inconsequential or a result of moderator bias. Some have complained that many of the direct moderator questions have been more favorable to the Obama team. The final debate questions seemed fair.
The actual debate proved less contentious than the previous two debates. Due to the time frame, it is too early to tell whether either candidate convinced undecided voters. That said, early reports show that while Obama may have slightly won more talking points, Romney appeared more presidential in demeanor and spoke convincingly – especially given his lack of direct foreign policy experience. Because of the late Romney surge, Obama needed to win this debate. A draw may equate to a Romney victory; moreover, the governor may have overcome his biggest weakness – favorability.
Winner: Slight Romney Victory
Nathaniel Balmert can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, for any questions or concerns. When he is not engaging in philosophical debates, he is studying science in order to save people’s lives, possibly yours.