Post Presidential Debate Analysis – Obama vs. Romney 10/3/12


UPDATE: According to a CNN flash poll, 67% say that Romney won the debate to 25% for Obama.

Well the debate is over – and surely each side will have talking heads giving their take on who they have crowned the victor. Here is my take:

Pre-debate: CNN analysts botch the introduction of Ann Romney. Ann Romney came off warm, and it looked like Michelle thought they were introducing her, leading to what looked like an embarrassing moment. Michelle looked much more nervous than Ann, but both looked somewhat uncomfortable.

The debate was scheduled to be 6 rounds but was actually 7, each lasted between 5-20 minutes (yes, there was a huge difference by question). The first three are related to the economy, and the last are focused on the government’s role in things such as healthcare. Jim Lehrer of PBS news hosts. Here is a summary of the takeaways from each of these rounds:

Both Romney and Obama came out looking good, smiling and joking with each other.

Round 1:

Question: What are the major differences between the two of you about how you would go about creating new jobs?

Romney: Romney made a little joke about Obama’s anniversary, went over very well – probably scored points for like ability. Says we are going to need a different path. Energy independence, open up trade, crackdown on china, make the schools the best, balance the budget, and champion small business. Small business people don’t want to open new businesses. Argues that the president wants a bigger government, more taxes, more regulation etc. “Trickle down government”

Romney says middle-income americans are being crushed and median income has fallen. He says the rich are fine no matter what. Wants to cut taxes but at the same time make exemptions expire. Argues that we should increase production of natural gas and oil on government land including offshore drilling and exploration in Alaska.

“I love coal.”

Obama: Obama recaps the financial crisis that happened 4 years ago. Argues that we were resilient and we’ve began to fight our way back. Hits Romney for tax cuts skewed to the rich. Argues we need to invest in alternative energy.

“America does best when the middle class does well.”

Obama responds to Romney – supports program “race to the top” aimed at increasing school quality, hiring more teachers and improve training. Obama says wants to lower corporate tax rates (25% for manufacturing). Give tax breaks to companies that keep jobs here. He puts more emphasis on alternative energy to build a secure energy future, not just oil, natural gas and coal. Argues Gov. Romney wants $5 trillion dollars tax cuts, increase military spending, etc.

ImpressionsRomney knocks support for small businesses out of the park, dodged Obama who kept doubling down on the $5 trillion tax cut that largely lost its effect.

“Going forward with the economic policy isn’t going to help the people today.”

Round 2:

Question: What are the differences between the two of you about how you would go about tackling the deficit problem.


“It’s not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in knowing that will be passed on to the next generation”

Highlights 3 ways to cut the deficit – raise taxes, cut spending, grow the economy. The president wants to raise taxes, slows down the rate of growth. He wants to lower spending – eliminate programs if we need to borrow money to pay for them. Eliminate PBS, Obamacare etc. Cutbacks through attrition.

Simpson-Bowles – I have my plan, Obama needs to push it forward – he has said he will cut the deficit but never has. When you are in recession you shouldn’t raise taxes on anyone.

Doesnt know about the shipping jobs overseas and tax cuts never heard of that needs a new accountant.


“When I walked into the office i had a trillion dollars deficit facing me… a war paid for on a credit card… and a massive economic crisis”

Obama claims to have made measures to make sure we didn’t get into a great depression. Saved 50 billion dollars waste out of the system. We have cut $1 trillion from the domestic discretionary budget. Has a $4 deficit reduction plan that asks for $2.50 of cuts for $1 of tax hikes (the rich pay more), bashes Romney for the spending cuts to revenue ratio argues he is unbalanced, you will be gutting our investments.

Moves to corporate taxes – hits oil companies and people with jets saying they can “pay full freight”. Talks about schools – says we need some more revenue “needs to take a fair and balanced approach” means more hardship for people.

Impressions: This round went to Obama, the oil company reference hit tones with many people. Obama made the argument that Romney won’t come to an agreement about raising revenue when spending is cut. Obama did a good job bringing this home. Romney made a small gaffe by saying he would cut programs such as PBS.

Round 3:

Question: Do you see a major difference between you two on social security?

Romney: Our seniors depend on these programs, neither the president or him are proposing changes to SS or Medicare. Changes for  younger people need to be talked about. Argues Obama is cutting the rates to doctors and doctors don’t want to help people on Medicare. Wants to put money back into Medicare. Argues for two plans one private one public.

Obama: Says SS is structurally sound. Talks about social security and medicare. Brings up grandmother who has worked throughout her life knowing she had a guarantee. Lowered drug costs, preventative care etc. Romney would turn medicare into a voucher program, makes seniors pay more. Says overtime with Romney medicare will collapse and people will be put at the mercy of private healthcare. If you repeal Obamacare will help insurance companies and hurt seniors.

Impressions: I think this lead to a Romney edge, especially after an interesting two rounds. Obama did not stay on target, and while his “grandma” story might have sounded good, Romney met this with support for the private sector and giving people more choice. They both agreed that no changes in SS.

Round 4:

Question: What is your view about the level of federal regulation on the economy, is there too much or should there be more?

Romney: Regulation is essential – you need regulation as a business. Regulation is excessive in some places or out of date, example: Dodd Frank, designates banks as too big to fail – 122 small banks have closed since Dodd Frank. Need transparency and leverage limits etc.

Obama: Dodd Frank was set up due to crazy bankers taking advantage of people. Banks making money hands over fists churning products bankers didn’t even understand. Stop tax payer bailouts, the help was paid back every single dime.

Impressions: Romney made some specific comments on what he liked with Dodd Frank and specific things he would cut. Romney came out in a moderate position calming many who think he will get rid of too much regulation. Instead hit the president on the “too big to fail” banks – which I think will help. Obama however performed strongly, and scored many points hitting banks. I have to say it was a tie.

Round 5:

Question: Affordable care act (Obamacare) you’re impressions.

Romney: I want to repeal it. Small businesses are dropping insurance because they can’t afford it. The CBO has said it will cost 2.5k more per year. Healthcare has gone up, it is expensive and hurts families. It cuts $716 billion in medicare to pay for it. Obamacare makes it less likely to hire people.

We worked together you pushed through Obamacare without a single republican vote. 20 mill people will lose their insurance. I don’t change rules on pre-existing conditions or age requirements. Private companies are more efficient, creative etc. We need to put providers to keep costs down etc. Federal government shouldn’t be able to tell people what should be covered.

Obama: Companies were taking advantage of their insurance holders, limits and pre-existing conditions. Obamacare, if you have health insurance you keep it, but insurance companies can’t “jerk you around”. You get rebates if insurance companies are spending more on profits and administrative costs than care. If you don’t have health insurance you get your own plan that makes it 18% cheaper. Points to Mass Romneycare being identical.

Says it was a republican plan.

“Is the reason why he keeps his plan secret because they are too good?… the middle class will love them too much?”

Impressions: Romney came swinging with this one, said Obamacare will cost people more money, noted that healthcare costs have increased, and that Obamacare will cause people to lose their insurance. Argues again for private sector control. Obama tried to come back with no avail, he sounded lecturing here.

Round 6:

Question: Do you believe that there is a fundamental difference between the two of you in how you view the mission of the federal government.

Romney: Role of government is to promote the constitution and declaration of independence. Military is second to none, we need to maintain the strength of military. Maintain commitment to religious tolerance and freedom. Make sure we care for others, we are all children of the same god. Look for discovery and innovation. We believe that individuals can pursue their dreams and not have government’s step in the way. The proof is poverty, college grads can’t find work, increase in food stamps.

Obama: First role is to keep the people safe. Help open up opportunity. Genius of America is freedom and free enterprise system, but there are also something we do better together. Start railroad, national academy of science etc. If all americans get opportunity we are better off. Wants to apply those same principles. We have to reform schools who aren’t working. Lets hire more teachers.

Impressions: Obama started this one with a pretty good statement on the role of the government. Railroads that were partially funded by the government, the national academy of science etc. to argue that the government can help improve people’s lives and the economy. However, Romney hit a home run with his statement of support for the military, and noting that our economy is fundamentally in a poor position. He offered “hope” to change it – almost inspiring.

Round 7:

Question: Many of the legislative functions are in a state of paralysis due to partisan gridlock – what would you do about it?
Romney: I was a governor in a democratic state, we have to work together and there is common ground. What is happening around the world, our deficit etc. Both republicans and democrats love America but we need leadership who can get the job done.
Obama: I will listen to anyone that helps the middle class grow and give them more opportunity. We have seen progress even with a republican controlled house. Being a leader is being able to describe what you want to do, you have to say no occasionally.
Impressions: Romney strikes hard with his record as a Governor in a blue state working with both Democrats and Republicans, “reaching across the aisle.” Obama makes a case that leadership takes strength and the ability to say “no”.  Tie

Closing statements

Romney: I’m a concerned American. There are two paths – if the president is re-elected we will see a middle class squeeze. You will see income up again. I will create 12 million new jobs. I will get rid of Obamacare, and allow states to craft their own program. President will cut the military, I will not cut the commitment to our military and the middle class.

Obama: We came into a bad time, my ideas haven’t changed. We need a balanced approach to improve future. Make sure everyone plays by the same rules. I have fought every single day to help those in the middle class.

Overall impressions:

This was a strong performance for Mitt Romney – he hit the things people largely care about. He performed especially well at the beginning coming out as very personable and even entertaining. He was particularly strong at arguing that Obama has taken the wrong actions as president that has hurt the economy and his role with Obamacare particularly.

Obama missed his opportunities to strike at Romney over recent 47% comments and his experience on Bain Capital. Obama seemed professing to the people, and failed to drive the debate. Obama came off unprepared, stuttering, and unsure of what to say. He came off dismissive and closed to Romney and the general audience.


Romney: 4

Obama: 1

Tie: 2

2 thoughts on “Post Presidential Debate Analysis – Obama vs. Romney 10/3/12

  1. Pingback: Post Presidential Debate Analysis - Obama vs. Romney 10/3/12 | ideafart | Political Debates |

  2. Reply Robin Oct 25,2012 %I:%M %p

    Good overall review of the debate and I appreciate your takeaways in your response. Still, I am reeling from the last GOP terms in office, and am pleased we have a President in office who seems honest and whom I believe, isn’t wracked in scandal, educated and well spoken, and who seems on a quest to help the middle class. Our family for one as benefited from Obamacare as far as health insurance for children under 26, and Grandma’s prescriptions have become more affordable which leads me to believe it has helped perhaps a majority of seniors just like her. So, even though Romney may have come out on top in this first debate over a flat performance by President Obama, I am still in his court.

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