Romney romps reigning chief
Obama appears overwhelmed by Republican challenger at debate
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Calm, cool and collected versus aggressive, adamant and ardent. An incumbent who was expected to win versus a man with something to prove.
The latter dominated the presidential debates on Wednesday night, according to pundits across the political spectrum. Romney came prepared and ready to fight, and Obama wasn’t prepared to fight back – at least not in the way Romney wanted him to.
Americans had this idea of Romney before Wednesday night’s debate – a man who shrouds himself in ambiguity and political gaffes. Americans know the man who offers no statistics and obfuscates vague economic plans while isolating 47 percent of the country.
Romney came prepared, and he was aggressive – not afraid to dig into his opponent, asserting the president has made more mistakes in four years than he’s made improvements.
Obama – who’s known for his impressive oratory skills – wowed voters in 2008 with his passion and fresh mentality. Americans expected Obama to bring that intensity to the debates this year, but the truth is, he’s just not that guy anymore. He was passive, cautious and reserved Wednesday night, and he didn’t appear to take a strong stand on anything.
The incumbent took his opponent’s punches and didn’t refute the claims made against him. He was weak, and he failed.
Compare this year’s debate to the Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960 – the first-ever televised presidential debate. It was the first time voters could see their candidates as they tried to win votes through a show and use of rhetoric.
Without a televised debate, Kennedy would have never taken the presidency from Nixon. Nixon – although he was the stronger candidate – was sickly and sweaty while on stage. Kennedy, on the other hand, was calm and confident in his first match.
Voters who watched the debates said Kennedy won; those who listened to the debates sided with Nixon – a true indication that looks and mannerisms matter.
Consider Obama as the Nixon of this debate. He looked at moderator Jim Lehrer when he made his points, which made it seem as if he was looking at the ground, while Romney looked right at his opponent and appeared much more engaged.
Romney spewed statistics and facts, and Obama did almost nothing to retort them. Obama didn’t once mention Romney’s 47 percent remarks, his time at Bain Capital, his tax cuts without tax deduction plan or his failure to release tax return information – all of which have been the Democrats’ biggest attack points, and it’s puzzling why Obama didn’t dig into his opponent harder.
But Romney also ignored crucial points in the midst of firing at Obama. He was evasive to questions of his tax plans – he didn’t have strong arguments as to why he calls for $2 trillion more for military spending and $5 trillion in tax cuts. He simply argued he does not plan to reduce the tax rate on high-income or middle-class Americans.
Romney’s statistics were distracting, and most Americans cannot decipher the truth amongst the distorted numbers. As long as it sounds intelligent, many Americans won’t know what’s real amongst the lies.
Both candidates had anecdotes to support their arguments, but this time around, it felt as if voters couldn’t connect and were left wondering why we care about Obama’s grandmother.
Obama is the stronger candidate, but Romney is the stronger speaker. A businessman who knows how to plan versus a well-spoken, intelligent man with a lot of heart. Thursday’s Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll still put Obama slightly ahead, attracting 49 percent of voters and Romney gaining 47 percent, but will those numbers change in the coming weeks?
This debate posed the question for voters, and the subsequent debates will be the answer.