04 October 2012

My take on the first presidential debate, October 3, 2012

-Jim Lehrer was outstanding. There is a reason why he was selected: he is focused and he is fair.

-The audience was outstanding. The audience was quiet and obviously attentive.

-both held their own, there was no clear winner. Both had something of substance to say.

I found Romney's answers over Dodd-Frank to be very interesting and would really like to know exactly what parts of Dodd-Frank he would keep and which parts he would get rid of. If there are parts of Dodd-Frank that really are duds, I would want them gone too.

The President owned Mitt Romney on health care - and made the very specific point that Romney's plan in Massachusetts is essentially identical to Obamacare. This was the part of the debate that was uncomfortable for Romney.

-Mitt Romney had to work hard to not smirk. Instead, he had a weird, kind of plastered-on-the-face smile that I cannot believe anyone would see as sincere. But when it came to issues, Romney's smile disappeared and he was all business. Mitt Romney, when he is in his element, especially finances, is a very, very good speaker (just as I suspected) and he got my attention.

-The President looked relaxed, but had that "Spock" look on his face alot. This dispassionate look is part of his persona, and it helped in 2008 in the debates. Here, as an incumbent, it could actually hurt.

-The president was too evasive on budgetary things.

-But Mitt Romney was not honest about the "716 billion dolllars" - medicaire vis-a-vis Obamacare.

-The President's best line was that Romney gives no specifics - but we have heard this from incumbents before. Bush 41 accused Clinton of this. The difference is, Clinton did lay out specifics. Romney did not.

I found the debate to be an absolute draw. Neither won. I doubt it will move the polling needle much. My gut tells me that there will be more fireworks at the VP debate on October 11th.

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