The first presidential debate between
Romney and Obama
Article added on October 4, 2012 at 12:43 Italian time
In the first presidential
debate in Denver on October 2, 2012 between President Barack Obama and
Governor Mitt Romney, moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS's NewsHour, the
Republican contender showed his attacking and presidential side as well as
empathy for people and cruised to a victory by points over the Messiah
The 90-minute showdown, despite some false claims by both sides, remained civilized and began with one of the toughest
subjects for the sitting president, job creation, an issue that may well
decide the election on November 6.
Obama claimed the creation of 5 million new private sector jobs over the
past 30 months. He said that the auto industry came roaring back, subtly
implying of course that his government's intervention had saved it from
collapse. He stated that “housing has begun to rise”, Finally, he admitted
that there was still a lot of work to do.
Obama characterized Romney's plan as follows: cut taxes for the wealthy and
roll back regulations. He contrasted this scenario with his plan, which
emphasizes to invest in education and training, to develop new sources of
energy and to modify the tax code to help small businesses and companies
ready to invest in the United States.
With the United States unemployment rate still over 8%, basically where he
inherited it almost four years ago, Obama had a tough stand. His lack of
economic understanding shone through in the tax code modification proposal
for companies investing in the U.S., since investing abroad may help secure
jobs in the U.S. too, it is not a zero-sum-game.
Obama continued with his statement saying that to wind down two war will
create saving which can be used to rebuild America. His last point was to
reduce the deficit in a balanced way to make the investments needed. He
wanted his fellow citizens to embrace a new economic patriotism instead of a
return to old policies which created the present mess in his eyes.
Throughout his remarks, President Obama did not look very self-assure. This
was not only due to the fact that this was his first presidential debate
intervention. It rather reflected the fact that both his economic
understanding and his
economic record are weak.
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Mitt Romney started his intervention with a reference to desperate people
looking for jobs who approached him on his campaign trail, trying to show
his empathy for the unemployed. He disputed that his plan just implied to
cut taxes for the rich. Instead, he referred to his five-points plan: 1) Get
as energy independent, which would create about 4 million jobs. 2) Open up
more trade, particularly in Latin America, crack down on China if and when
they cheat. 3) Make sure our people have the skills to succeed and the best
schools in the world. 4) Get as to a balanced budget. 5) Champion small
business. It's small business that creates the jobs in America. Romney said
that over the past four years small business people had decided that America
may not be the place to open a new business because new business startups
are down to a 30-year low now. I know what it takes to get small business
growing again, to hire again.
Romney accused Obama of having a plan very similar to the one he had four
years ago: bigger government, spending more, taxing more, regulating more,
trickle down government if you want; “trickle down”: a phrase normally used
by the Democrats against the Republicans.
Later during the debate, Romney rightly accused Obama of having squandered
his first two years in office with
Obamacare (health care reform). He also said that Obama had come to
power with the promise to cut the deficit in half, but instead it had
doubled; in fact, Obama surely has not cut the deficit, but he has not
doubled it either. Rather, he has “just” run trillion dollar deficits in all
of his four years in office.
The contender had a few good punch lines such as: “Mr. President, you're
entitled, as president, to your own airplane and to your own house, but not
to your own facts, all right?”
Obama himself attacked Romney for his lack on specifics and rhetorically
asked whether Romney's Obamacare repeal plans remained “secret because
they're too good? Is it because that somehow middle-class families are going
to benefit too much from them? No.” In defense of Mitt Romney, he had to
compromise in Massachusetts Romney mentioned this correctly as a “bipartisan
plan”, unlike Obamacare. He had also come up with specific ideas of how to
make it better on the national level, but it is difficult to present in a
few minutes in a debate.
The president abstained from attacking the Republican on Bain Capital, which
was probably a wise decision.
In an instant CNN poll, tow-thirds of respondents said they saw Romney as
the first presidential debate winner. I agree. The question is whether it
was good enough to make enough Independents shift towards the contender and
make even some Democrats change their mind.
President Obama has disappointed on so many fronts. He is no longer the
Messiah. But the TV attacks by the Obama camp have managed to taint Romney
as an evil creature. Will this effect last until election day?
During the first presidential debate, the Republican contender presented
himself as a man with a bipartisan approach. Some may recall that Obama had
presented himself as a bipartisan candidate four years ago, just to ran to
the left after election day with the Democratic Congress in his back. Will
the voters finally realize that a social democratic approach is not what the
United States need? Will they come to the conclusion that a president with
no understanding of the economy is not what the United States need in the
current economic and financial crisis of global magnitude?