After weeks of back-and-forth from pundits and political commentators, the first of three presidential debates is finally here. Moderated by Jim Lehrer, the host of Newshour on PBS, the debate will be set at the University of Denver in Colorado, and will focus on domestic policy.
For President Obama, the debate will serve as another forum for him to solidify his base and maintain his lead in the polls. The president has a comfortable lead in most polls, has been riding on a post-DNC bump, and has benefitted greatly from many of the gaffes committed by Mitt Romney over the last few weeks. He is ahead in all eight major swing states according to almost all media outlets, and, this past weekend, his campaign crossed the $10 million mark in donations, mostly from small grassroots donors. The president will put his oratorical skills to the test against Romney, who has sharpened his own skills with 20+ strong debate showings over the past 12 months during the Republican nomination process. And while many have focused on how the president can solidify his lead over his opponent, he certainly stands to lose a lot if he does not deliver on his message to swing voters, and veer away from the "first-term referendum" which Romney has attempted to create.
It is clear that former Governor Romney will have to deliver hugely in order to make an impact on independent voters, a relationship he has damaged in recent weeks with his infamous "47%" comment. Look for appeals to blue-collar workers and women, especially, in an attempt to counter the strong Latino and African -American vote that the president has established. Further, look for him to attack the president on topics not limited solely to the economy -- -- in particular, on foreign policy, an issue over which incumbent Democrats do not usually have issue ownership, and which Romney has previously tried to call into question.
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UPDATE: 10:32PM And that's a wrap. Barack has never needed a Michelle hug more in his LIFE. Cue the pundits. Wolf Blitzer must be foaming at the mouth.
10:31PM Romney somehow found a way to say that Obama is not working for the middle class. And that he is/will. How? I don't know. But it sounded great. His voice is going hoarse though...........
10:30PM That was sincere. But not strong enough. Obama needs a lot of work if he's going to win these next few debates. Now on to Romney...
10:28PM Time for closing statements. Lehrer announces that Romney won the coin toss and elected to go last. Does not bode well for Obama. He is already stumbling.
10:26PM Obama calls Romney out for overextending himself on his first day as president. Doesn't make sense when I write it out, BUT IT SOUNDED DAMN GOOD.
10:25PM Lehrer interrupts Romney and ushers him toward his point. One hour and twenty five minutes too late, Jim.
10:24PM "You've done a great job, Jim" -Obama. The losers consoling each other...
10:23PM Romney getting HEATED. "And by the way..." I think that might be the most used phrase of the debate.
10:18PM Romney just said "poor kids" instead of "lower income kids". All of his staff has had a group heart attack.
10:15PM Romney: "I love great schools..." No one cares.
10:12PM "Let's make up a number... $20,000... $50,000..." Uh oh. Mitt is talking about money. His staff begins to sweat...
10:08PM Obama really needs to stop agreeing with things Romney is saying. Even if they are small caveats. It makes it seem like he's undermining his own arguments.
10:06PM Romney is literally FOAMING AT THE MOUTH wanting to respond to Obama's comments. Same robotic/creepy half smile, though.
10:01PM Romney keeps quoting the CBO. And now he's quoting McKinsey. He really did his homework #nerd
10:01PM OBAMA ZINGS LEHRER. GETS LAUGHS. GOOD FOR YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.
10:00PM Why is it that the female "Colorado Undecided Voters" continue to be hugely positive for Obama and the males are continuously apathetic?
9:56PM Obama just picked his nose. 40 million people saw. *Rick Perry voice* Oops.
9:54PM *looks DIRECTLY at the camera* "Does anybody think that the problem was that there was too much regulation on Wall Street?" BAM!
9:52PM Mitt: "Lets talk about..." Lehrer: "LET'S NOT. LET HIM RESPOND..." -- ZINGER!
9:50PM Considering they are talking about social security and medicare, they are certainly not treating poor old Jim Lehrer very well...
9:49PM Romney saying the voucher system came not only from Paul Ryan, but from Bill Clinton's chief of staff. Obama smiles slyly and shakes his head. WHAT IS HE GOING TO DO?! WE CAN ONLY WAIT AND SEE!!!
9:46PM Obama destroyed Romney's voucher system idea. AND addressed the Obamacare name (saying he "has become fond of it"). This was solid. CNN's "Colorado Undecided Voters" chart says women are loving it and men are apathetic. You go girls.
9:45PM WHOOPS OBAMA JUST SMACKED ROMNEY RIGHT BACK. Romney: "vouchers are only for future retirees" Obama: "well yes, so if you're in your fifties, you might want to listen up!"
9:44PM Obama needs to stop smiling and nodding at Romney when he's attacking him. It makes him seem a little daft.
9:43PM "Oh I just thought of one!" -Romney. Is someone feeding him answers? How does he come up with all of these facts? Maybe he isn't as much of a robot as... whoops he just lost his idea and is not really making any sense anymore. Attacking Obama. This is schtick is getting a bit old.
9:40PM Lehrer asks Obama if he sees any differences in his and Romney's plans for Social Security. Obama offers his answer basically as "I suppose we're similar on that". Now he's using some anecdotes about his grandparents. His grandma died three days before he was elected president. Well played, Mr. President. Romney is wishing he could use a similar story... sorry George Romney.
9:39PM Romney is talking fast. But it seems like the "Undecided Colorado Voters" are beginning to see through it. Well, at least the women are anyway.
9:38PM "I maybe need to get a new accountant" -Romney. Oh. Do you? Is that because you have too much money that your old accountant can't handle it? Faux pas.
9:36PM "As I indicated before" ... "tax cuts will not help us grow" -Obama. Well played.
9:35PM Obama is clawing his way back in to the debate. Talking about corporate taxes. Now he's using an anecdote about a "teacher he met." Probably made that story up but it doesn't matter because it's an anecdote all the same.
9:33PM Now Romney is calling out Obama for calling out Donald Trump. Obama is completely flustered. This is insane. Obama is awkward. Romney takes over the conversation. Obama is nodding with Romney. Why is Obama agreeing with Romney. Romney is literally the eager law school student who is reciting the whole Constitution and the law school professor (Obama) does NOT know what to do to shut him up.
9:31PM Romney calls out Obama for not acting fast enough on the trillions of dollars of deficit. "You've been president for four years." Obama looking down, noticeably quiet. This does NOT bode well for the president.
9:30PM Sorry Obama, Romney's response to the last question was so good my head is still reeling and I can't listen to what you're saying. Also you just fumbled with your words. You're done. When is the next commercial break? Oh wait...
9:27PM Romney is talking specifically. And he's motioning with his hands. WHOA he just apoligised to the President about calling it Obamacare, saying he means it respectfully. Obama is flustered "good I like it" yeah okay no you don't but we'll move on. Romney also apologises to PBS because he wants to cut their spending too. KILLING THEM WITH KINDNESS. HOW ARE YOU DOING THIS WILLARD MITT ROMNEY?!
9:26PM "Theoretically" we're on to a new topic. In reality, we are not. Thanks Jim Lehrer. He also gives the first question to Romney. But Romney was the last to speak. This is awkward. Favouritism?
9:25PM Mitt just wants to end the debate. What a great guy. Oh just kidding he wants to also talk some more.
9:22PM If you think that you can cut taxes by trillions, and add spending by trillions, and you think you can close loopholes and not pick up the tab to pay for it, you may want Romney's plan. Says Obama. He should've stopped there. Instead he is continuing on, and people are forgetting how strong he started his statement. He is doing a POOR job of being succinct. So far, I'm voting for Romney.
9:21PM Lehrer just wants to let everyone know that we've gone WAY over time. But is still going to let Romney respond. Cool. Thanks Jim.
9:20PM Obama just tried to make a Donald Trump joke. I don't think it worked very well, because I'm still waiting for the punchline...
9:19PM Lehrer surprisingly lets Obama respond. Again. ARITHMETIC. OH MY GOD HE JUST WON THE DEBATE. Nice try... you're not Bill.
9:17PM Mitt makes a joke WHILE calling the president out for misconstruing his words. Ooooooooh. ZINGER. Romney can talk AND make a joke at the same time? Superhuman.
9:15PM Obama says that middle class will have to pay more according to Romney's plan "not to increase the deficit" -- and he doesn't believe middle class families should be burdened even further. Oops. Now Romney wants to argue back. Shocker. Lehrer is not taking control.
9:14PM "No tax cut that will increase the deficit" -Romney. That was clear. Clearly a lie. Where are the fact checkers on this one...? Has he even heard of Paul Ryan?
9:12PM Romney wants to address Obama's accusal of him having a trillion dollar tax break plan. I thought Obama accused him of having a trillion dollars. Either way, Romney is rich and talking about money therefore most people will assume he knows what he's talking about. Oh now he's talking about coal. What's that got to do with him being a trillionaire? Don't care...
9:11PM Lehrer says he wants to address all the topics Obama brought up specifically. GOOD. LOVELY OF YOU TO DO THAT FOR US.
9:10PM Lehrer asks Obama to respond directly to Romney's 'trickle down' theory. Obama is dillydallying around the question, and instead trying to add more of what he should've said in his first response. 2 minutes later he begins talking about reducing the trillion dollars of deficits. Complex. Hard to understand. Whoops.
9:08PM Romney uses statistics and a personal anecdote to deliver a strong response. Stronger than Obama's. First blood drawn by Mitt.
9:06PM Romney starts his response. And cracks a joke. AND THE AUDIENCE LAUGHED. Republican strategists everywhere are heard falling off their chairs in joy.
9:05PM Obama starts it off with an ode to his sweetheart, Michelle. Cue the sighs. He also talks somewhat vaguely about investment in energy, saving money from wars, reducing deficits, blah blah. No one cares. Keep talking about Michelle.
9:04PM Differences between the two candidates' proposals for creating jobs? Starting the debate off vaguely, Lehrer.
9:03PM Lehrer announces that the audience is not supposed to make any noise during the debate! That's a new one. Let's see if anyone sneezes...
9:00PM It is officially NINE O'CLOCK. And as a result of the coin flip, President Obama will give the first answer to Jim Lehrer's question. Governor Romney will go last. And Jim Lehrer begins his introduction of the FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE. Pay attention people!
8:58PM Anderson Cooper just referenced the Obama/Romney Presidential Debate... drinking game. Hopefully that got the attention of some millenials.
8:55PM A mere FIVE MINUTES away from the start of this debate, Anderson Cooper informs us. He can BARELY contain his emotion.
8:48PM CNN's Candy Crowly astutely informs us that there is, in fact, a COIN TOSS, for who will be introduced first. And by who, I mean, which FIRST LADIES. Not even the President. So many subtleties...
Wednesday, 8:45PM CNN has confirmed that THE CANDIDATES ARE IN THE BUILDING. Debate to start in 15 short minutes. Can't wait? Neither can I.
Tuesday, 12:15 PM
Here's the debate schedule, ICYMI:
TV – Each debate will be broadcast LIVE on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as an array of cable news channels including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC among others. Talk about media saturation.
Live Stream – Each debate will be streamed live online on PolicyMic. Check back here for the live stream.
October 3, 2012
Topic: Domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: University of Denver in Denver, Colorado (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
Moderator: Jim Lehrer (Host of NewsHour on PBS)
The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.
The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have 2 minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.