The first of three presidential debates was held Wednesday night at the University of Denver and aired across the nation.
President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney discussed several topics under the domestic policy umbrella. Topics included federal regulation, social security, the legislature, and the role of the federal government, along with hotter topics like the economy and healthcare.
The debate was broken into six segments that were planned to be 15 minutes each, with two minutes to each candidate to give their statements before rebuttals.
Both candidates, however, talked over the moderator and over the designated fifteen minutes, which resulted in only three minutes to spare for the final segment before closing statements.
Stephen Stambough, Ph.D., a Cal State Fullerton political science professor, noted this run-over.
“Both candidates came across aggressively toward the moderator, which was not a good thing,” said Stambough.
The opening segment, on the U.S. economy, showed the first clear separation between the candidates. Arguments began to get heated in regard to Romney allegedly proposing a $5 trillion tax cut, and it was never really resolved.
Both discussed the importance of the middle class, but views on the president’s handling of the middle class were contested.
“Under the president’s policies, middle-income Americans have been buried–they’re just being crushed,” said Romney.
Obama countered by saying he believed that America does best when the middle class is doing well and that his policies support that.
Obama also discussed the importance of education in relation to the economy, as well as in other topics throughout the debate. He stressed the importance of educating America and investing in training to support the economy.
This was one topic on which Romney and Obama seemed to agree most. Throughout the debate, both stressed the importance of good education in America.
On the topic of health care, Obama and Romney differed greatly as well.
For starters, if elected, Romney has proposed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (referred to as Obamacare) because he said it is too expensive and “has killed jobs.”
Obama called this an important step forward for the middle class and “families who were worried about going bankrupt if they got sick.”
Stambough said he thought this debate did not shed any new light on either candidate or the race as a whole up to this point.
“There wasn’t a lot we hadn’t heard before. Romney gave a pretty standard GOP line, Obama gave a standard Democratic line,” Stambough said.
In closing, Obama stressed the importance of the individual American and his promise to fight for the middle class. In Romney’s closing, he expressed concern for the current state of America and outlined the problems he sees with the Obama administration and potential re-election.