The first Presidential Debate kicked off on Wednesday, Oct. 3, when President Obama and former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney focused on important issues in America. Little was agreed upon between the two candidates, from deficits to job creation, but I can safely say that Romney held his own. Romney appeared well-prepared and confident, with answers readily available to all of the questions moderator Jim Lehrer presented. Obama on the other hand, was slow in responding to questions and seemed a little shaky on stage. Eric Fehrnstrom, senior advisor to Romney, stated, “I’ve got to believe that the heels on the president’s shoes are worn down from being back on them for 90 minutes,” according to CNN. National polls indicated that Obama had a general lead. As the final weeks of the campaign race draw closer, this was one of Romney’s last chances to change a few voters’ opinions in his favor. After the debate, the gap began to close between the two candidates, as the daily presidential tracking poll from Rasmussen Reports shows. It was a big win for the Republican candidate and I can only hope the president comes better prepared to the next debate.
Within the first few minutes of the debate, you could tell Obama was not his usual debating self. There was a frequent smirk on his face whenever Romney spoke and a countenance that seemed to reflect annoyance. Not to mention the cowardly absence of eye contact with his Republican challenger. But it wasn’t just Obama’s body language and demeanor that proved to be disappointing; it was his lack of conviction. He missed countless opportunities to produce a rebuttal to the offensive position Romney had taken. There was a general expectation that Obama was going to challenge Romney on his widely known “47 percent” comment, but he did not. He just didn’t take the fight on his own personal stances, and therefore allowed Romney to trample over him. The president definitely underestimated the kind of heat his opponent was going to throw at him. The only thing he was left to do was defend his record of the past four years, which was weak at best. Romney clearly stated how the Obama administration promised to cut the deficit in half, yet ended up doubling it. This was among many other promises the president did not keep when he was elected in 2008.
With President Obama faltering, Romney took full advantage and hammered away at the most important issues in the debate. First, was his plan on job creation. He immediately listed five concrete ideas that would put more Americans to work, such as balancing the budget and his frequent statement of helping to increase government support for small businesses. Although Obama agreed with Romney on the issue of energy independence, his response to the question of jobs and the economy was scrambled, as he jumped around from education to tax reduction.
Another vital topic covered was Obamacare. Romney stated that as a result of Obamacare, “you’re going to see a $716 billion cut to Medicare.” If Obamacare is to continue it would cut reimbursements to Medicare Advantage plans, and when the plans get less money they may withdraw from certain markets, according to The Huffington Post. Regardless of what many liberal news sites are saying about Romney skewing the facts, it is ultimately unclear as to what these cuts are going to affect, but the facts are that Obama does plan to reduce future spending on Medicare. Obama’s response to Romney’s claim was that he was “able to lower prescription drug costs for seniors by an average of $600” and his plan would “ultimately save money” for Medicare, meaning that it would take time for America to actually reap any benefits.
Another point I’d like to highlight is the candidates’ discussion on federal debt. The president stated that “the oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare,” and that these oil companies don’t need any extra money. Romney came back by saying that Obama “provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world.” If the oil industry doesn’t deserve $4 billion, then why on earth would you want to give $90 billion to green energy? This is an obscene amount of money for an industry that is providing jobs at a much slower rate than was advertised by the president. Robert L. Bradley Jr., the CEO and founder of the Institute for Energy Research, wrote in Forbes that Obama’s campaign credited 2.7 million jobs to the clean energy sector. This was a general statistic that lumped together jobs like waste management and bus driving, when in reality there are only 29,000 Americans working in solar energy. Forbes also reported that the Obama administration just rejected the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would have provided an estimated 20,000 new jobs. Throwing irrationally large sums of money at green energy is not the right way to make America’s energy independent, but it is a good way to make America go broke.
Overall, Romney produced more ideas than Obama, and more of a plan on how he was going to accomplish things if he were elected. Essentially, President Obama’s reaction to this was to say that Romney’s plan wouldn’t work and his would; he just needs more time.
According to social report #104 in The Heritage Foundation, “Today, more people than ever before—67.3 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid or other assistance.” Gasoline was around $1.68 when Obama took office, and today it’s almost at $4 in many places in the U.S. Problems keep adding up under the Obama administration, from the spikes in gas prices to the amount of people dependent on the government.
Due to a coin toss, Romney was allowed the last word in the debate. He reiterated that if Obama was elected a second term, the country would plummet into even deeper economic troubles. He claimed that the candidates are following “two very different paths,” and each “lead in very different directions.” It’s becoming more apparent each day which of these paths would be the best for America, and hopefully people make the right choice.
Lauren Richey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org