Romney wins debate on economy

By Bridget Medori
October 4, 2012

Though it pains me to admit this, round one of the debates goes to Mitt Romney.  The guy who is often viewed as disconnected and rather vanilla, was sharp, crisp and well prepared to show Americans just how presidential he could be.

Obama, on the other hand, was definitely not at the top of his game. He was flat and came off almost preoccupied. It was not a complete failure for President Obama, but it was a far cry from his charismatic energy and optimism that blazed right through the campaign trails and into the hearts of voters in 2008.

Here are the facts. When asked about jobs, President Obama made it clear that there was still work that needs to be done. He reminded us that four years ago, America went through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.  The auto industry was on the brink of collapse.

But we began to fight our way back. Over the last 30 months, there have been 5 million jobs in the private sector created, the auto industry came roaring back and housing began to rise. He said he wanted to find new clean energy sources here in America, improve our education system, reduce the deficit in a responsible way and provide tax cuts for middle-class families.

Romney said his job creation plan has five parts. The first step is to get us energy independent. Second is to open up more trade, particularly in Latin America. Third is to make sure our people have the skills they need to succeed and the best schools in world. The fourth step is to balance the budget. Last but not least, he wants to “champion small business.”

Obama criticized Governor Romney’s proposal that calls for a $5 trillion tax cut top of  $2 trillion in additional military spending. Romney, of course, denied that by claiming he would give “no tax cut that adds to the deficit.” That statement seemed implausible in Obama’s eyes. “ He has been running on this plan for 18 months, and five weeks before the election he says never mind.”

Moderator Jim Lehrer then asked the candidates about entitlements. Medicare was heavily discussed.  Obama expressed how he wanted to strengthen Medicare for the long term. To deal with Medicare, he says we need to bring down healthcare costs. Obama talks about Romney’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

Romney’s idea is that we would give a voucher to seniors, and they could go out in the private marketplace and buy their own health insurance.  The problem is, the voucher would cost the average senior  an estimated $6,000 a year. Romney would keep traditional Medicare alongside it. The problem with that is insurance companies are heartless. This proposal would leave seniors at the mercy of insurance companies who have the choice to deny people the healthcare they need.

Romney then accuses the president of cutting $716 billion from current recipients of Medicare.

Though both candidates were adamant on what they could do for America, neither really bothered with much detail on how they would accomplish any of it. That said, Mitt Romney was the clear winner, just based on his energy and forcefulness, both of which the president lacked. Mitt Romney still came off unauthentic to me. He has a detailed past of flip-flopping on issues as polarizing as abortion. With his track record, I have a difficult time believing anything his says.

The fact that Mitt got the edge in this first debate is nothing new. The opponent of the president usually does have the advantage. This is because the expectation is so much higher for the president to do well.  Plus, the most Romney could wish for is a one to two percent boost in the polls…and that’s if he is lucky. By now, most voters have made their minds up about whom they are voting for. These debates are strictly aimed at the undecided, independent voter. So I am not overly concerned about Obama’s lackluster performance in Denver. You’ll get him next time, Mr. President.

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Bridget Medori

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