Round One: Obama vs. Romney

Round One: Obama vs. Romney

Melissa Hollingshed, Staff Writer

President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney debated for an hour and a half last Wednesday about health care, tax plans, and government regulation. This debate was the first of three debates and took place in Denver at the University of Denver. The moderator was PBS anchorman Jim Lehrer, who had a hard time controlling the candidates’ time limit and matter of subjects.

The debate started off with the two candidates walking onto the stage waving and flashing welcoming smiles to the crowd. President Obama  began with an anniversary wish to his wife Michelle, whom sat in attendance in the front row along with Romney’s wife, Ann. Gov. Romney started off by joking with the president about being here with him instead of being somewhere with his wife.

The discussions that followed showed that both candidates were trying to attack one another without coming off as the “bad guy”. Gov. Romney went into this debate with a disadvantage, being the underdog. Gov. Romney handled himself very well and took upon the role of being more on the offense rather than the defense.  Essentially, both candidates attacked each other without coming off as aggressive by remaining very calm and even toned.

One of the first topics discussed were domestic policies. This topic brought about the sensitive subject of tax plans. Both candidates disagreed on what the other stated about their plan, more so Gov. Romney than President Obama. President Obama spoke about Romney’s plan to have five trillion dollar tax cut in which it would favor the wealthy rather than the middle class and eventually increase America’s deficit instead of lowering it. Gov. Romney denied the accusation and introduced his actual plan that would create economic growth with no help of tax cuts to add to the deficit. President Obama’s response to this claim was that Gov. Romney has been campaigning a contradicting plan in the past few months. President Obama said that “Well for 18 months he’s been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election he’s saying his big bold idea is ‘Never mind’”.

Gov. Romney argued that President Obama’s call to raise taxes on richer Americans would decrease the amount of jobs available. President Obama refuted this and said smaller businesses wouldn’t be affected as much as the larger business. Gov. Romney opposed this and said this small percentage of smaller businesses wouldn’t match the amount of jobs needed to stimulate the economy.

President Obama contended that Romney’s plans are similar to the plan of the Bush administration in 2000 and 2003 which caused the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and Bill Clinton’s tax plans. Gov. Romney countered that his pitch was nothing like President Obama described and he would “not reduce the share paid by high-income individuals”.

 President Obama commented on how Gov. Romney is very vague with the Republicans’ answers and proposals. Another significant topic discussed was Medicare and “Obamacare”. “Obamacare” includes the Patient Protection and affordable Healthcare Act. $710 billion is taken from the growth payment to hospitals, insurers, and increased prescription coverage for seniors and devotes itself to the new law. This is the Republicans leading argument against the Democrats since 2010 as the GOP accused them of “Robbing Medicare”. It won the Republicans the house before so Gov. Romney also used this tactful move.

President Obama defended the Democratic legislation and attacked Romney by saying if you get rid of the current Medicare you would put seniors in a difficult position which would eventually cause the old Medicare system, Romney wants to rather enforce, to fall apart. Again Obama states how Romney has not offered an actual plan to replace the current Medicare and insisting how, based on what Romney has been saying, it would leave many citizens without any medical coverage.

The final argument was over government regulation. Romney believes that some regulation in business and markets are vital but to increase the regulation on Wall Street would be wrong. Obama’s response to this is very nonchalant and he believes that there isn’t a problem with that at all.

CNN survey gave the Republicans 67% to Democrats 25% on who won the other 8% were undecided on who won the debate. Polls such as this claim that Gov. Romney won the debate. Nationally, favors are still for Obama but this debate really enlightened the country about Romney’s potential. Most states are still pro-Obama but small amounts are shifting to consider Romney instead.

The next debate will be held in two weeks in Hempstead, New York in a town hall. The week after that they will discuss foreign policy in Boca Raton, Florida. The upcoming debates will continue to fluctuate the favors on who should be president. Ultimately, it is not a popularity contest; it is up to the voter to appoint the next president according to how they want to mold their future with the correct leader.