“He now says he’ll replace Obamacare and ensure all the good things in it will be in there … Is the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret because they are too good?” – Barack Obama
The first of three presidential debates is done and the clear winner was Governor Mitt Romney, not because of substance, but because of his style. Romney was more forceful and on the offensive all night. President Obama was hesitant on attacking Governor Romney and came off as disengaged throughout the debate. While these debates rarely change the final outcome of the election, they often help struggling campaigns and Governor Romney definitely got some moderate help last night. Here are my winners and losers from last night’s debate.
Governor Romney was the aggressor in last night’s debate. Over the last few weeks Romney has been battling negative headlines from his 47% comment to his failed response of the Libyan Consulate attack, but last night’s performance helped Romney and most importantly his supporters gain confidence. The polls are tightening in swing states, a natural process in campaigns, and Romney’s performance last night will tighten the polls even more. Romney was fast and loose with his facts. He said he would not cut taxes for the rich though that has been his plan for 18 months now; he says he will cover those with pre-existing conditions while his campaign says they won’t, he said he is for regulations though he has said he wants to eliminate regulations, he said he will work with Democrats on day one while also saying he will repeal Obamacare on day one. Romney won the style debate last night, but the president was able to land some blows, albeit soft ones, on Romney especially when it came to explaining the details of his plan. The next couple of days will let us know the impact, if any; this debate will have on the race.
Last night’s debate was the most tweeted political event ever!
Last night Romney vowed to cut funding for public broadcasting essentially endangering educational children shows such as Sesame Street. Romney said he loved Big Bird, but would not continue funding such endeavors while borrowing money from China. After that comment Big Bird was trending on twitter reaching 17,000 tweets a minute.
Make no mistake about it President Obama is still the favorite in this campaign, but instead of shutting the door on Romney he allowed his listless performance in last night’s debate to give the Romney campaign some life. Obama seemed very restrained and laid-back. He did not engage Romney and was on defense for pretty much the entire debate. He did not mention Romney’s 47% remarks, overseas tax havens, or his Bain business record. Obama went deep into policy and on a substantive level was better than Romney, who provided no details (again), but these types of debates are about style and Obama’s cool style did not play well last night. I expect Obama to perform better in the next debate on October 16, he had better or he will be giving Romney one last chance to slither into the White House.
Full disclaimer, I am a huge Jim Lehrer fan and think the News Hour on PBS is one of the best news programs in the country, but he quickly lost control of last night’s debate and struggled to enforce any semblance of order. Romney often talked through and over Lehrer and the format he proposed was a complete disaster. Lehrer is a veteran of these debates, but after the debacle last night, that might have been his final one.
Looks like our beloved Big Bird will be joining the millions of unemployed Americans if Romney has his way.
Last night, Romney was the aggressor and Obama was too cool for school. Romney played fast and loose with the facts (again) and flip-flopped (again) throughout the night, but President Obama failed to call Romney on this, he instead kept the debate on a policy level and substantively he was strong, but these debate are all about style and when it came to style (not facts) Romney cleaned Obama’s clock. These debates rarely decide an election, but Obama needs to display the same passion he shows on the campaign trail at the next debate and show the American people he is willing to stand up for them and their interest more passionately.