Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Debate No. 1: Do We Have a Winner?

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The most anticipated event of the 2012 election season took place tonight in Denver, Colo. with the first presidential debate, and the country will now be speculating on who had the edge – President Obama or Governor Romney?

Romney’s performance was impressive in this first debate. His experience with dozens of debates from the primaries was undoubtedly an advantage for Romney tonight. He was quick to respond to the president’s attacks on his tax plan. He was repetitive and seemed to have a step-by-step explanation for everything he wanted to accomplish should he be elected.

The low expectations many had for Romney’s debate skills undoubtedly helped as well. On a CNN post-debate special, David Gergen and Alex Castellanos both said they thought that this debate was the high point of Romney’s campaign.

Obama, on the other hand, appeared out of practice in terms of his debate style. The president made his arguments effectively, but he lacked followthrough on some key elements of his campaign thus far. The Obama campaign has been emphasizing Romney’s record at Bain Capital and attempting to dehumanize him for weeks and weeks, yet Obama did not touch on any of that. He also made no mention of Romney’s recent “47%” remarks.

As far as the first debate goes, Romney seems to have made a bigger impression than Obama. A CNN Poll conducted after the debate shows that 67% of Americans view Romney as the “winner” while only 25% preferred Obama.

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