To paraphrase a Fox News analyst, Mitt Romney couldn’t have done better in the first Presidential Debate moderated by Jim Lehrer. In the debate, Mitt Romney, to the viewer, was much more passionate and articulate about his platform than the President, and President Obama seemed lackluster compared to his often glowing speeches of the 2008 campaign. To quote a tweet by Bill Maher, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter.”
Gov. Romney also made his ideas much easier to understand and framed them better in terms of fundamental principles than the President. I believe Romney’s first great line of the night was the term “trickle-down government,” which he used to describe President Obama’s philosophy on government in retort to his criticism of ?trickle-down economics.? The debate then got interesting with the conflict over Obama’s claim that Mitt Romney wants a $5 trillion tax cut, something I can’t recall in any of his plans and that Romney consistently hammered the President on subsequently. This resulted in what I thought was the line of the night, when Romney said, “I know that you and your running mate keep saying that and I know it’s a popular thing to say with a lot of people, but it’s just not the case. Look, I’ve got five boys. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it. But that — that is not the case,” referring to the President’s claims on his tax plan.
When the debate moved to the deficit, Gov. Romney continued to hammer away at the President over his lack of discipline on deficit reduction, citing his promise to cut the deficit in half in his first term as an example. President Obama retorted with his $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, which contains $2.50 in spending cuts for every dollar in new taxes; Romney, though, remained steadfast in his pledge for no new taxes, for he instead gets more revenue under his plan though real and substantive economic growth that results in more taxes paid to the government. Gov. Romney also made very clear the facts that show the failure of this administration in terms of the economy.
After a lengthy discussion of Obamacare and the difference in their entitlement plans, the debate concluded on governance, leadership in general and the role of government. Romney’s opening for that segment was an impassioned speech about the U.S. Government and the principles it was founded from in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence that I thought was an inspiring moment in the debate. After the candidates got in a debate over the role of regulations and where the government should spend its money, Mitt Romney made a very good point, calling out the President on his repeatedly mentioned desire to cut the $2 billion oil subsidy, that Romney is willing to cut anyway (and rightfully pointed out goes mostly to small companies, not Exxon like the President claimed), yet he’s willing to spend $90 billion on failed government green energy loan programs that give money to companies like Solyndra while saying we need to spend more on education, tying in an overall theme about government efficiency. Romney then, in my opinion, did a much better job closing out the debate than the President with a strong speech on the distinction between their visions for America.
Overall, Romney clearly won the debate and as early results from focus groups are showing, Romney’s message and demeanor really connected with undecided voters while also firing up his base; in contrast, President Obama is getting hammered everywhere from Twitter to MSNBC for a poor debate performance. If the Romney can keep this up, I definitely think victory will go to the GOP in November.