President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been trading barbs on the campaign trail for months now. Wednesday evening, the two will face off in the first of three presidential debates, this first scheduled at the University of Denver in the important swing state of Colorado. The debate will focus on domestic policy with six 15 minute segments. Each segment will focus on a topic, begin with a specific question, and move with the ebb and flow of the debate.
You know what else moves with the ebb and flow of the debate? The award winning blogging (well, award-winning since PolicyMic recognized this blog as the most read blog during the Republican National Convention in Tampa ... I have the t-shirt, poster, and pending meal to prove it).
Make sure to check back here on Wednesday throughout the day, but certainly as the debate coverage begins at 9:00pm EDT, to get keen insight on the proceeding.
I'm also live blogging this debate with the Atlanta Young Republicans, and will offer some exclusive insight into the debate via YouTube with some members of the organization. Any questions/comments during the debate? Shoot them over via Twitter to @rwlee2. Also, make sure to check PolicyMic on a regular basis for the entire team of bloggers covering the debates.
Bookmark this page and check back often to make sure you're getting the latest updates.
4:10a: Yes, yes, it's late (or early), and I'm still going because I decided to have a little fun after the debates. Below is some analysis with Cameron Fash, Immediate Past Chairman of the Georgia Young Republicans.
Having said that, thanks again to Chelsea Magee, Greg Williams, Joe Pettit, Melvin Everson, and Cameron for their comments provided to this blog tonight. Make sure to check out Chelsea's channel here, and listen to Greg's List Live here.
11:01p: Things have slowed down here, and the final analysis appears to be favoring Romney. Clearly, the Atlanta Young Republicans are supportive, but Romney came prepared to win the debate tonight. He appeared presidential, firm, and clearly more knowledgable about the issues.
While recent polls showed Obama having a lead, many include "leaners" which indicate their likely support a candidate, but not completely sure. Some polls suggest anywhere between 15-20% are leaners and willing to change their vote, along with undecided. These are the people Mitt need to touch, and he did.
With that, I'll bring some final analysis with Cameron Fash as soon as the video uploads. Thanks for reading!
10:32p: Here at the Atlana Young Republicans, applause and cheers for Mitt Romney. Cheers of "Mitt! Mitt!" ring out.
10:30p: Debate is winding down, and the prepared statements by Obama are his brightest moment tonight. Clearly, Mitt came prepared to debate, Obama came to prepared to pretend. Locking Obama in that room was not that effective after all.
10:26p: Only three minutes left in the debate, most likely because Lehrer didn't moderate well. They've lost a "pod." WTH is a pod in a debate? I'll tell you what can be seen in that time. My interview with Melvin Everson about the debate. Check out what he had to say.
10:22p: Trust me, Mr. President. A good number of the kids at the University of Denver are having college paid for by their parents.
10:17p: Good, Romney talking about principles, and what the Constitution demands of the government. He's good to say here's the principle, and this is what it means. More importantly, he's saying why Obama is not meeting those principles. Good form, Governor. Good form.
10:12p: Obama does have a few good points going through, at least good in the sense that he needs to make them. Biggest problem: his narrative is disjointed and meandering. That's a big problem if you want people to remember what you said tonight. The truth is, people won't remember the talking points from the debate. They will remember who owned the debate - a lot won't be able to say why, a lot won't be able to point to specifics.
But people will say Mitt Romney won because he controlled the debate.
10:06p: Obama now attacking Romney's vagueness on policies. True, that is a soft spot, and Romney has to respond with a specifics.
10:03p: Romney right to bring up the difference between Romneycare and Obamacare. Key difference: Romney did it as a Republican in a Democrat state. Obama did it by using parliamentary tricks after Scott Brown was elected to defeat Obamacare in Massachusetts.
10:01p: While the discussion of Obamacare continues, let's see what Joe Pettit, incoming Chairman of the Cobb Young Republicans, had to say before the debate started.
9:57p: From the twittersphere:
@anamariecox: I think I saw an unemployed Big Bird enticing 4 year-olds with prime plus one out of his garage. #denverdebate
9:54p: Romney talking about regulation now, and it's a little scary to a laissez-faire capitalist like me. However, he's bringing up Dodd-Frank as a bad regulatory regime, and he's right. So, let's see where this goes. I'll continue to cringe a bit, though. What I don't cringe about is this interview with Chelsea Magee about what she'd like to see tonight in the debate. (Hint: I think she's happy so far...)
9:51p: Obama apparently prepared for the economic debate with the Underpants Gnomes tonight, because he has some serious, SERIOUS gaps in his logic.
9:47p: Obama, again, is doing what he's prepared to do. Blames oil companies. Blames private insurance companies. Blames the wealthy for not being able to balance the budget. Blame, blame, blame. He's really not prepared to deal with an agressive Mitt Romney.
9:45p: "Cutting $716 billion from Medicare to Obamacare is wrong." Obama retorts with the voucher program argument. "If you're 54 or 55, you might want to listen." Well, they will have a choice, right Mr. President?
9:43p: Obama claims he and Romney are similar on entitlements. Let's see after that rambling story of his grandmother who apparently relied on Social Security as the VP of a bank.
9:40p: As a break, here's the first of our interviews tonight, with Greg Williams of the Buckhead Young Republicans and Greg's List Live.
9:39p: Granny over the cliff. Autistic kids. Retort: "You gave 50 years worth of tax cuts to green energy compared to oil. I like green energy, too." The best: "You don't pick winners and losers, you just pick the losers." Zing!
9:36p: The risk Romney runs right now is being too, too agressive and drowning out both the moderator and Obama. Obama good. Moderator bad. With that in mind, there is another crowd that drowns out Obama, and that's the Atlanta Young Republicans.
9:29p: I sound like a broken record, I know. But this is getting nasty, and Romney is just owning it. Obama, to his credit, is not backing down. He continues to push as hard as he can, but the face to face debate is really not the best place for him. "The President promised to half the deficit, unfortunately he doubled it."
9:27p: "Growth slower this year than last year, last year slower than the year before." Obama cannot take this debate to four years ago without talking about the last four years. Saying the deficit is a moral issue makes this debate all that more important, too.
9:21p: Did Obama just try to bring Donald Trump into the debate? There is a clear skill difference between the two. Romney came to win.
9:17p: Wow, wow, wow. Romney just said his five boys tried to use the tactic of repeating something that's not true and hope people believe it. Sit down, Obama!
9:15p: Obama doubles down on the $5 trillion tax cuts. Romney shows in the split screen a wry little smile and jots down his notes. Romney smells blood in the water. Romney is looking to make the debate his. Obama's stumbling. I dunno...just seems a bit, unfair...debate skills redistribution!
9:12p: Romney dropping some knowledge! Camera's are conveniently not focusing on the President's deer in headlights look. Income down $4,300 for middle income Americans, and Obama just doesn't have the skills to back up his policies.
9:11p: Obama shows a little fluster at Romney's first broadside. He's started off well, and Obama's on the defensive regarding economic policy.
9:08p: First crack at humor goes to Romney. "I'm sure the most romantic way to spend your anniversary is here with me." Then, Romney starts going into specifics of his economic policy. First shot goes to Romney, and well played.
9:05p: First question: What is the major difference on jobs. If Mitt doesn't go for the throat now, he may never! Especially with Obama telling us the sky is blue "This is where we've been..." "Mitt Romney cuts taxes on the wealthy..." Blah blah blah...
9:01p: Applause here at the Atlanta Young Republicans for hte beginning of the debate! I think the YRs are itchin' for a fight tonight.
6:33p: Tonight, I'll have four guest join me via YouTube video: Joe Pettit, current Social Chair and incoming Chairman of the Cobb County Young Republicans; Chris Sanders, President of the Atlanta Young Republicans; Chelsea Magee who manages her own YouTube commentary channel, Chelsea Loves Politics; and Greg Williams, President of the Buckhead Young Republicans and radio host of Greg's List Live.
Oh, and just as proof that anyone can win a competitive race, Teddy finally won his at Nationals Park today for the first time in 534 attempts.
3:04p: Well, just a little under six hours to go before the debates kickoff. Here are a few headlines leading up to the debate that may or may not have an impact tonight, but are nonetheless on the minds of some people:
Instead of fighting it out like gentlemen, the campaigns decided that coin tosses were a better way to decide who got the first question (Obama). "Rarely is anything fair in politics. But debates are a different story."
Conservatives are still a little salty about the Mother Jones video, so they decided to make a non-exclusive story exclusively theirs about Obama. "On the eve of the first presidential debate, conservative media outlets seized on footage of a five-year-old, widely covered speech by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, who argued at the time that the federal government discriminated against Hurricane Katrina victims."
Romney's also laying out his weapons ahead of the debate, discussing some details of his released tax plan that seeks to reduce the number of exemptions and deductions someone can take. Good form, too, since any tax plan will need to broaden the tax base and lower the tax rates in order for it to be effective. "
Romney says deductions would have to be trimmed in order to make up the difference, and said that taxpayers could perhaps choose on an individual basis which ones to claim and which ones to lose."