As debates go, last night’s debate was not one of the better ones. It had some good moments but overall, it was boring. After debate polling showed that Mitt Romney had a positive effect on the small sampling by CBS of 400 undecided voters. One thing appeared to be in agreement by many online voters. The moderator, Jim Lehrer, was the loser. He had one of the worst performances as a debate moderator.
Lehrer allowed Mitt Romney to answer and moderate the debate—all without any facts. I don’t think that either candidate won the debate—despite what some informal polls indicated about undecided voters preferring Mitt Romney. However, if you take into consideration, that it was appropriate to lie, then Romney won the debate. He lied so much that I’m sure his pants were on fire.
President Obama’s performance could have been stronger. That’s an understatement. He may have tried to temper his tone to try to avoid sounding sarcastic. Or perhaps, he underestimated the debate lying skills of his opponent or was tired. Whatever the reason, President Obama needs to bring his A game for the next debate.
Romney, to his credit, actually looked and sounded human. Someone online responded to me in a tweet that Romney is human. Of course, I know he’s human but he hasn’t acted human. Perhaps, that’s because I don’t know how billionaires act. I probably understand Romney like Romney understands poor people. He doesn’t know how poor people act because he doesn’t know any of them. If he did, he would not have offered as part of an answer that students can borrow money from their family to attend college. That presumes their family has money to loan them.
There was name dropping on both sides. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney invoked the name of former President Bill Clinton–showing the popularity of Bill Clinton. Of course, Romney mentioned the Republican “god” — Ronald Regan. And President Obama got in a humorous remark about Donald Trump.
One thing was made clear about the candidates and the debate. The differences between the two became clear. President Obama believes that the federal government should help people who need help—and that includes small business. To make the point, President Obama could have used retiring progressive California Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey as an example. She needed welfare at one point in her life as a single mother to get on her feet. And she later became a member of Congress for 20 years.
Mitt Romney believes the states should do everything. So Romney would strike down “Obamacare” and allow the states to institute something else in place. At the same time, Romney says that it won’t change the impact of the Affordable Care Act. That part is a lie. Without the Affordable Health Care ( “Obamacare”), young adults will not be able to stay on the parent’s health insurance until age 26. People with pre-existing illnesses will be denied coverage by insurance companies. And more than 32 million Americans will be left without health insurance.
Romney wants vouchers for Medicare, if you’re under 60—as if those of us under 60 will not ever need Medicare. We will get old and sick too—one day. And President Obama honed in on the point that Romney doesn’t want to reveal any of the specifics of any of his plans. And President Obama got in the point that Romney’s lack of specifics or his “secrets” mean they would not be good for Americans. Why else wouldn’t Romney reveal his plans if they would be so good for the middle class. And Romney also made it clear that money for public broadcast and education stemming from it would be cut. No more Big Bird or Jim Lehrer for that matter. I will not be disappointed in the latter–at least as a moderator.
I don’t think President Obama did himself any good by not mentioning Romney’s comment about the 47% or Bain Capital. President Obama needs to continually repeat that he will be the president for all Americans. And he won’t send our jobs overseas for us to go there and get hired .I don’t think those points can ever be stressed too much.
For the next debate, President Obama must make the points that he makes in his commercials. He must make the debate about Romney’s flawed issues and flip flops. And he must not appear flat or lackluster. Looking at Romney during his comments, appearing in the game and engaged and quick to respond will go along way the next time. One online comment said Romney did the Obama to Obama. While I don’t agree, I think you get the point.
As a trial lawyer, I think the debate appearance of Mitt Romney was better than I expected. Perhaps, President Obama underestimated Romney as a debate opponent. But I guess it’s easier to appear good if you’re making up stuff as you go along, instead of trying to remember the facts and any previous statements. I can’t wait to see all the fact checking on both Mitt Romney and President Obama.
Although, I can’t say I’m anxiously waiting for the next debate. This one almost bored me to death. Apparently, it also bored moderator Jim Lehrer, he fell asleep at some point and turned over the moderating to Mitt Romney.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national, international and local media including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, local NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, Washington Post, Washington Times and Black Enterprise among others. She also contributes articles to the Huffington Post and the Women’s Media Center.