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The bored and the charming: The 2012 Presidential Debate

On Wednesday, October 16, 2012, the University of Denver, Colorado held the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. As moderated by Jim Lehrer, the candidates spoke about domestic policy during six time segments. The candidates had two minutes to respond to each question.

Polls believe that Romney won the debate, as he appeared to look prepared, polished and presidential. Obama on the contrary, known to be a motivational speaker, looked bored, unprepared and seemed like he didn’t even want to be there. Obama opened with wishing his wife, Michelle Obama a happy wedding anniversary, the couple spending 20 years married. Romney even gave his regards to the couple and told the President,  “I’m sure it’s the most romantic place you can imagine, here with me.”

There was clearly a distinction between the candidates regarding policies. Obama spoke about how his view on taxes differs from Romney’s wants to “cut taxes, skewed towards the wealthy, and roll back regulations.”

“I think we’ve got to invest in education and training. I think it’s important for us to develop new sources of energy here in America, that we change our tax code to make sure that we’re helping small businesses and companies that are investing here in the United States, that we take some of the money that we’re saving as we wind down two wars to rebuild America and that we reduce our deficit in a balanced way that allows us to make these critical investments,” the President said.

Romney responded to Obama’s remarks, describing a plan that consists of five parts. The first point Romney made was that he wishes to  get us  energy independent in a way that would create about 4 million jobs The second would be to open up more trade in Latin America and to “crack down on China, if and when they cheat.” The third was a vague statement about skills and schools and the fourth addressed balancing the budget (also non-specific). The last point regarded championing small businesses.

Obama claimed his focus is on education, as he plans to hire another 100,000 new math and science teachers, and “create 2 million more slots in our community colleges so that people can get trained for the jobs that are out there right now.” He also plans to keep tuition low for our young people. In terms of energy Obama wants to invest in the future with wind and solar energy.

But the most notorious comment from the Governor was how he plans to stop subsidizes to PBS. “I like PBS. I love Big Bird. Actually, I like you, too,” Romney stated to Lehrer. “But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.” The twittersphere went off in a rage about how Romney plans to kill off Big Bird, which gave birth to spoofs and even an Obama endorsed ad.

Even though Obama didn’t attack Romney on issues such as his 47% comment and lacked his usual confident demeanor, Vice President Joe Biden appeared to be feisty against Paul Ryan during their debate.

Even though Obama didn’t impress many Democrats, he has another shot during the next debate on October 16, 2012.

Who will win the election? Obama stated, “Now, it ultimately is going to be up to the voters — to you — which path we should take.”


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