Opinion: First presidential debate of 2012, and the winner is …?

by David Perez, Staff Writer 465 views0

The first of three presidential debates aired Wednesday from the University of Denver in Colorado and it featured a debate on domestic issues.

The beginning of the debate started with Governor Romney congratulating President Obama on his 20 year anniversary with the First Lady, but that is where the friendship ended and partisanship and fact-bending began.

Most of the debate was about the economy where three segments – half the debate – took place. The enthusiasm on the subject from both candidates kept moderator Jim Lehrer from keeping control, going far over the allotted time. He tried to interrupt both candidates whenever he could. “We are way over our first 15 minutes,” said Lehrer at the 17 minute mark of the debate.

The highlights of the debate were Romney’s remarks regarding China, claiming, if elected, he would cut spending on certain programs asking, “Is it so critical that it’s worth borrowing from China to pay for it?”

But social media site Twitter went abuzz after Romney named a few programs he was willing to cut, including PBS saying he likes Big Bird, the Sesame Street character, but would still cut funding to PBS, the company that also employs Lehrer.

The low-light of the debate was more of the same, half-truths and exaggerations on both sides. Both candidates fervently argued with each other with Governor Romney repeatedly saying, “I will not give the rich tax breaks” while the President argued that Romney’s plan does exactly that. The President said, “We should not give deductions to companies that are moving jobs overseas, we should take a balanced approach.” While the GOP candidate said that there are no such tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas or that Obama should hire a new accountant.

There were no winners in this debate, though social media and CNN suggest that Romney was the hands down winner, the real losers are those who were and are still unsure who to vote for. According to a CNN poll, 67% of voters who watched the debate said GOP nominee Mitt Romney won the debate, while 25% said President Obama came out as the winner.

Romney for the first time articulated his stance on how to bring in revenue and balance the budget without having to raise taxes.

He also for the first time refuted the logic that he is like Republican candidates before him who brought economic turmoil to America, compared to his gaffes last week including a video where he said nearly half of Americans don’t pay taxes. “My (tax) plan is not like anything that has been tried before, my plan is to bring down rates and deductions and credits at the same time,” Romney said.

Throughout the debate President Obama still pointed out, though articulate, the GOP nominee is lacking in his specifics on how he plans to turn the country around if he is elected. Obama also said the country at least knows where he stands on his policies.

We can only wait to see what the next debates have to offer and see which candidate voters that are still on the fence choose.

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