Luckily for me, my very first post on our class blog happens to be due on the night of the very first Presidential Debate. I chose to hold off on writing this post primarily because I thought this would make for a great topic.
My initial thoughts about the debate took me by surprise. What we got from President Obama and Mitt Romney was very different from what I anticipated. The very first thing I noticed was the dynamic between the two. For the majority of the evening it felt as though Romney was on the offensive, forcing Obama to constantly be playing defense. In my opinion this really gave Romney the upper hand.
What I was looking for was a serious blunder from one of the sides… something that I could really sink my teeth into. However, neither candidate presented me with anything that I could really dig in to. I found that overall Romney appeared to be more present than Obama. Normally when I think of Obama in any type of speaking engagement I foresee a lot of positive energy and inspiration. One of his talents is captivating audiences and getting people to really rally around the way he delivers his opinions. Tonight, I just didn’t get that. Romney seemed virtually unscathed by every comment made questioning him all night and came back with sharp an eloquent responses. I was anticipating Romney to be a little more flustered in the first debate.
There was a certain lack of fluidity when Obama attempted to detail his own policies throughout the debate. Could it just have been an off night for Obama or his he truly feeling the pressure from Romney? Obama did not take any true shots at Romney even when provided with perfect opportunities to do so. I was extremely surprised that Obama never called into question Romney’s comments regarding “47%” that has received extensive media attention recently.
I tried to pay close attention to body language throughout because actions do tend to speak louder than words. While Obama was making his points, Romney seemed to possess a grin that indicated he had the perfect rebuttal in mind and he was ready to use it. On the other hand, when Romney was speaking Obama seemed either distracted or disinterested. His facial expressions spoke to me in a way that said, “Can you believe this guy?!”
Overall, I think it is safe to say that President Obama and Gov. Romney agreed on essentially nothing… which of course is not all that surprising. At times I found things feeling slightly petty, such as when Romney retorted that “virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate.” As expected, Romney’s primary goal for the evening was to essentially make the debate a referendum of the past four years of Obama’s presidency. On the other side of that, Obama tried to convince voters that his plan for the next four years is superior to that of his opponents.
I look forward to future debates, and I expect them to be much closer in the future. In my opinion, tonight’s debate goes to Romney. He dominated the majority of the date and it was extremely apparent that his prep work paid off. I expect Obama to possess much more of his usual spirit in the next debate which will pose a much larger challenge for Romney and his occasional stiffness. I look forward to seeing what both candidates bring to the table in the next debate.