The overwhelming consensus is that the president lost.
President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney squared off in their first face-to-face presidential debate Wednesday, battling for more than an hour over the future of the economy, the federal budget, tax cuts, education, health care and even the future of Big Bird.
Faced with several recent polls showing Romney falling behind, the GOP candidate may have bought himself some added time after Wednesday’s debate, where he appeared on the offensive against Obama. Romney’s answers to questions from the moderator, Jim Lehrer of PBS Newshour, who played a subdued role over the course of the evening, were crisp and appeared well-rehearsed. His responses included as many specifics as the limited time would allow, and Romney seemed to hit his marks in a way Obama was not able to.
The “zingers” promised for the debate were scarce, and both instead used his time to carefully outline ideas for how they would govern. Romney and Obama both used personal examples to supplement their points.
In perhaps the most anticipated moment of the debate, Romney survived the session on health care reform, which could have been a major liability for the Republican nominee. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney championed a state health care law that later became the partial blueprint for Obama’s national health care overhaul that Romney now says he wants to repeal. During the debate, Romney worked to show the difference between the two laws, while Obama aimed to tie them together. Obama scored points in noting that many of the ideas that made it into the final health care law originated with with Republicans, but Romney escaped the exchange with only minor wounds.
“There’s a reason why Governor Romney set up the plan that he did in Massachusetts,” Obama said. “It wasn’t a government takeover of health care. It was the largest expansion of private insurance.”
Although the debate began awkwardly with both candidates discussing the president’s 20th wedding anniversary, the contest quickly moved into what at times became a tense conversation that showed the difference between their competing visions of the future of the country and the role of government. But for much of the first part of the contest, both Obama and Romney spent a lot of time working to fact check the other.
Obama launched an early attack on Romney for proposing a tax plan that cuts federal government programs but does not include tax increases on the wealthy. He knocked the former governor for not providing specifics about his own plan for tax reform and said his initiative would raise taxes on middle-income families by $2,000 and lower them for millionaires.
“Virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate,” Romney shot back, adding that he doesn’t intend to raise taxes under his plan.
Read/learn more at The Ticket.
The question is who won? Who Lost? What say you?
If you somehow missed the debate or would like to see it again, here it is:
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