President Obama and Governor Romney face off at DU
An uninspiring event
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 02:10
Denver University was inundated with political heavy hitters on Wednesday Oct. 3. The school hosted the first ever presidential debate in Colorado and it was the first presidential debate between Barak Obama and Mitt Romney.
The topic of the debate was domestic issues and was moderated by Jim Lehrer. The debate was supposed to be broken up into six sections. The first three were on the economy and the last three were supposed to be on health care, the role of government, and governing. But things didn’t go as Lehrer planned.
Neither candidate could stop talking. President Obama frequently over-ran his time and Governor Romney repeatedly jumped in with uninvited responses as Lehrer attempted to move the debate along. But Lehrer did seem to achieve his goal of highlighting the differences between the candidates.
The first question was on how each candidate intended to grow jobs. President Obama responded first by stating that we, as a nation, are fighting our way back from the recession. Obama wants to continue to invest in education and training. “America does best when the middle class does best,” Obama said.
Romney had five components to his plan. He wants to achieve energy independence, open up trade, ensuring people have the skills they need to succeed and creating the best schools in the world, balancing the budget, and championing small business.
Of course the discussion of tax cuts arose quickly in this initial part of the debate. Neither candidate wants to lower taxes on the most wealthy, but Obama wants to return to Clinton era tax rates, while Romney wants to lower tax rates for most people, but then get rid of certain deductions to cover the money lost in taxes.
On the deficit Romney said flat out that he has ruled out revenue to balance the budget. Obama on the other hand said we need a balanced approach that includes revenue and spending cuts.
Obama and Romney found a little bit of common ground when it came to entitlements, but just barely. Neither would change social security for current senior citizens, but when it came to Medicare the candidates had very different ideas. Romney vowed to repeal and replace “Obamacare” with programs custom made by each state to fit their own needs. Obama, of course, stands behind his healthcare plan and pointed out that it is nearly identical to the plan Romney put in place in Massachusetts.
Lehrer went on to ask each candidate what the mission of the federal government to be. Both Obama and Romney put the security of Americans at the top of the list. Obama then emphasized the importance of opening up opportunity so that people could succeed. Romney talked about the importance of education, having a strong military, and promoting religious tolerance.
When the subject of education came up, Romney emphasized that it should be in the hands of the state and local governments and that students should have a choice in the schools they attend.
Obama pointed out the success of the Race to the Top program and added that he wants people to have the opportunity to attend community colleges where they can be trained for jobs that exist in the market place right now.
The reaction of the crowd seemed to be fairly evenly split down the middle between Obama and Romney. Each candidate probably got an equal amount of cheers. But overall the debate was not especially impressive. It probably won’t change any minds.