Courtesy of MCT
Wednesday night saw the two candidates for the presidency square off in debate for first time. There will be two others before the election on Nov. 6 that will focus on social issues and foreign policy, but for now we get to discuss what many (including myself) would label the two most important issues in this country: the economy and health care.
Before I continue any further in breaking down the debate, and giving my personal opinion as to whom I believe won in which areas, allow me to discuss several side points.
First of all, I am not an undecided voter. I believe both candidates that were present for the debate at the University of Denver have fatal flaws that make them undeserving of being president. I will be voting for Libertarian candidate and former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson. I understand he has no realistic chance of winning, but I am a Cleveland sports fan. I have never been one to side with anything simply because it had a realistic chance of winning.
Secondly, and foremost, a CNN poll released Wednesday night at 11:30 p.m. showed 67 percent of viewers believed Republican presidential Mitt Romney won the debate and 25 percent believed President Barack Obama won. The remaining 8 percent were undecided.
Now debating is all about perception. Clearly anyone who has made up their mind on who they will vote for in November will not sway due to the results of a debate. Debating is a useful tool in luring undecided voters, who will tune in and pick a candidate based on their demeanor and ability to rebut an attack by the opposition. For such purposes, I will not be exploring the merit of each candidates statements, nor will I discuss the potential effectiveness (or lack) of each policy.
When it came to the subjects of the economy, by which I mean the creation of new jobs and the deficit, Romney showed a clear poise in his discussions that Obama was unable to match. Obama continually attacked Romney’s tax cut plan, proposing the idea we have all heard on the radio and television: “Mitt Romney’s tax plan will give millionaires a tax break of a quarter million dollars, while middle income families will be taxed an extra $2,000 each year.” Romney made it clear that those were not his policies, stating taxes would be cut across the board to all families.
Obama said only the top 3 percent of businesses would experience a tax increase. The governor rebutted, stating “that top 3 percent employs half of all workers who work for small business, and 25 percent of all employed Americans. Raising taxes on them would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
When it came to the economy and deficit, Obama appeared defeated by Romney’s relentless attacks on his failed economic policies and timely rebuttals.
Health care had a slightly different feel. Many would argue that coming into this debate, Romney would take economics, and Obama would take health care. This idea holds some merit, but unfortunately for the president, the health care debate was not as one-sided as was that of the economy. Much of the debate focused on the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” and Romney’s proposed voucher system. Personally, I disagree with both policies. I don’t believe the federal government should be able to dictate what kind of care citizens can receive; I also believe a voucher system could spell the end of Medicare, which could be detrimental to senior citizens. Both parties did an excellent job promoting their idea, while effectively attacking the potential of the other’s. We’ll call this part of the debate a wash.
Each candidate had excellent points, and composed themselves well when facing attacks. However, to sum up their energy and demeanor, Obama appeared surprised by Romney’s ability to rebut all attacks, even turning many into counterattacks against the president. Romney appeared better prepared than the president in his statements and counter statements. Romney showed great energy and a fire in his speech that would suggest he really wants the job. On the other hand, I don’t believe Obama displayed a clear desire to keep said job. We shall see how the other debates fair. I believe the president will have a clear upperhand when it comes to social issues. However, for Wednesday’s debate in Denver, I would have to agree with CNN.
Winner: Mitt Romney.