Presidential Debate? More like a gladiator arena.

By Jennifer Cannon
October 18, 2012

If you for one second thought that President Obama and Governor Romney should have been wearing boxing gloves at last Tuesday’s debate, you are not the only one. The two candidates went head to head and nose to nose against each other on extremely heated topics, but can it be said that their demeanor during the debate and campaigning process will be reflective of how the will be in office?

If you watched the debate, it was hard to ignore the two candidates repeatedly interrupting each other and the moderator. The town hall style of debate, which allowed the candidates to walk around instead of being stuck behind a podium, felt more like a gladiator arena. The point was to engage them more with the audience, but it helped exposed the true colors of each man.

Romney’s demeanor from the very beginning was confident, maybe a little too confident. Surely he knew that he did well in the previous debate and expected this one to follow suit. He certainly was not expecting the much more prepared and confident Obama that showed up.

Obama came out fighting, probably to make up for his lackluster performance on Oct. 9, and he did not disappoint. He was well-spoken, very informative and even a little bit sassy at times.

Each candidate had times where they directly called out the other on something they believe in or have said. This typically happens and leads to a rebuttal but Governor Romney and President Obama took each personal blow to heart and interrupted as soon as an accusation was made. This made debate moderator Candy Crowley’s job extremely difficult. She had to keep track of who was supposed to be speaking, and be assertive enough to cut off two of the most powerful men in the nation. An intimidating position to say the least, Crowley handled it by almost bargaining with the candidates. “I understand the stakes here,” Crowley said, “but I will get run out of town if I don’t [move along.]”

If these two candidates cannot answer questions without arguing over who gets to talk first or get the last word in, how will they handle being president? We have seen from Obama that his style at debates is polite and sincere and he is only aggressive when provoked by false accusations or alleged lies from the opposition. He was ultimately very engaged with the audience and showed genuine concern about moving the debate along instead of indulging further in petty banter with Governor Romney. “I just want to make sure that all of these wonderful folks are going to have a chance to get some of their questions answered,” President Obama said.

Governor Romney, on the other hand, played the role of the instigator very often in regards to stepping in when Obama was talking and questioning the moderator, as well as completely ignoring her when she asked to move on. However when it came to him being the one interrupted, he was unpleasant and almost selfish. “Mr. President, I’m still speaking…Mr. President, let me finish…I’ve gotta continue.” Romney said in succession, to Obama attempting to step in. Also, many times when Obama had the floor and he was waiting not-so-patiently to rebut, his looming presence behind him was ominous and quite startling to say the least.

Personally, I have not yet decided where my vote will land on Nov. 6th, but the debates have opened my eyes to more than just the issues at hand. We have two very different men before us, each with both good and bad qualities of position and lifestyle and personality. The sides that we see during campaigning are certainly not what we will see when someone takes office. The question is, which one will hold truer to themselves and their promises? Hopefully America knows the answer.

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Jennifer Cannon

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