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How We See It: Debate recap

Debate 1: Domestic Policy
University of Denver in Denver, Colorado
Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Robert Wilkins:
Maybe he was still riding high from his surge in the polls after the DNC. Maybe he was thinking of the millions of places he would rather be on his anniversary than with Mitt Romney. Or maybe he really was a little lost without a teleprompter. Whatever the case, Obama’s lackluster performance had Democrats angry and Republicans thrilled. Throughout most of the debate, Obama kept the same tone and was completely overshadowed by Romney’s energy and attacks. Obama’s lack of clarity made this debate a complete disaster for the president, as many political commentators agree. He did well to avoid a serious gaffe (“Big Bird”) and narrowly kept his lead in swing states like Ohio but lost a significant portion of his lead with women and undecided voters. It was up to Biden to get the Democratic Party back on track.

Gray Clark:
In my opinion Mitt Romney wiped the floor in the first presidential debate. Obama, who typically is a good orator, couldn’t get his points across, couldn’t make sense, and just didn’t seem confident in what he was saying. It takes some serious guts to stare the moderator in the eyes and say he is going to cut federal funding for his job. Romney was clear, concise, and powerful with what he said.  My one critique of the debate in general was that a lot of the pressing issues weren’t even touched on. Where was the discussion of abortion, where were the stances on gay marriage? It seemed (due to the mediators total lack of control) that they ran out of time and didn’t touch on social issues. But overall, Romney clearly outshone Obama at the first debate.

Debate 2: Foreign and Domestic Policy
Centre College in Lansing, Kentucky
Thursday October 11, 2012

Robert Wilkins:
The debate everyone expected to be a slaughter in favor of the Republicans turned out to be quite the show.The fact that Martha Radditz didn’t allow the candidates to roll over her also made this debate much more bearable to watch. Joe Biden (who undoubtedly proved he actually can deliver rational, coherent points on a live mic under pressure) picked up Obama’s slack big time. For one, he didn’t seem downright lethargic like Obama did in debate #1; he aggressively defended his positions with interruptions and was almost too giggly during Ryan’s speeches. He also didn’t pull any punches concerning Romney’s time at Bain Capital, the infamous “47 percent” remark, and Ryan’s requests for the very stimulus money that Republicans hated so much. Biden successfully defended his administration’s economic, foreign, and domestic policies by adeptly handling questions concerning Iranian nukes, Obamacare, and taxes on the rich.

Gray Clark:
This debate to me was a huge shocker. I was expecting Joe Biden to go into this debate like his usual self and just say something offensive/stupid/ignorant and embarrass himself and his party. He went from a cute man who needed to learn to think before he speaks to a rude aggressive man who also seemed a bit crazy. Biden’s constant laughing, not to mention his creepy smile, made me just plain uncomfortable. I felt that Biden’s disrespectful behavior lost him the debate. Ryan was interrupted 85 times during the debate by Biden. That really should say something about the character of our current vice president. Eighty-five times.

Debate 3: Town Hall Meeting with Foreign and Domestic Policy
Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York
Wednesday, October 16, 2012

Robert Wilkins:
Obviously, the criticism from both sides did something for him, because from the very beginning of this debate Obama made it clear he came to win. Obama looked downright fired up. The town hall format was perfect for him to use his charisma against an opponent that many say can’t relate to regular Americans. Obama aggressively defended his decisions and policies while simultaneously attacking Romney’s policies on immigration, women’s rights, the economy, and Libya, all while with a smile on his face. He also had several moments where he managed to fit in “zingers” against Romney, much to the delight of his party. Of course, we can’t talk about this debate without remembering the infamous Libya question, where Obama curtly told Romney to “get the transcript” when Romney asserted that Obama never said the attack in Benghazi was an “act of terror. At this point Candy Crowley came in on Obama’s side. Perhaps Crowley was wrong to interject, but this moment just showed that Obama, the confident, passionate one the American people were so desperate to see, had control of the debate.

Gray Clark
Good job, President Obama. I think this debate was a perfect example of Obama’s oration skills. He had a lot to make up for after his terrible performance at the first debate. He came in strong and answered questions in a clear and concise manner with his usual rhetoric. Governor Romney also did a good job. Neither of the two really stole the show. To me it seemed pretty equal. This election might come down to the third debate on foreign policy, but from the performance I’ve seen so far, I am proud to be supporting Romney-Ryan 2012.

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