Who Won the Debate: Romney Falters, Obama Takes Advantage

Updates:

10:36 - General Impressions: Romney sounds like he is validating his experience and beliefs instead of affirming them. Even conservatives are frustrated with the tack Romney is taking. Not a strong close for him.

10:34 - I am so bored by this trade rhetoric. We are still great, China has been cheating. Obama taps into the skills necessary to create jobs, thank goodness. Signed, sealed, delivered.

10:30 - Question about outsourcing turns to currency manipulation. Important point but that's not the whole picture about why we're losing jobs. What sectors should we be focusing on job creation?

10:23 - Romney's just reinforcing conservative ideals at this point, there's no attempt to gain Independent voters. Watching him actively shrink his fan base is frustrating.

10:22 - Romney wants to change our whole social identity instead of gun laws. It's admirable and not a bad idea, but will it work???

10:17 - I'm pretty sure when the Moderator comes down on the side of one of the candidates, it's over.

10:13 - Obama showing his foreign policy chops - "You don't turn national security into a political issue." Rightly pointing out his successes in foreign policy over the last 3.5 years - successes many thought weren't possible. Romney trying to draw the same lines, but it's not sticking as well.

10:09 - General thoughts: bickering by candidates is stupid, but necessary to prove to viewers they are not being walked on or dominated. How would a woman fare in this situation?

9:55 - Romney tapping into skepticism about what Obama hasn't done - but how different is this treatment from any other incumbent? Interested to see what Bush went through in 2004

9:53 - I LOVE this question. Obama is having a serious problem with redefining expectations, especially after the contagious hype of 2008. I agree with him listing his accomplishments, but the people want another picture painted of the future. Why can we still believe in you?

9:50 - General Impressions, part 2: Romney is coming across as caring about the middle class, probably his biggest challenge going into the debate season. Obama's hitting back hard on Romney's inconsistencies, something that needs to be drawn out. This is a tough one to call

9:45 - Great counter by Obama about women's health and child care, though. Broadening the question to family, economic issues. Not as inspiring as Romney's answer.

9:40 - Both candidates need to appeal to women without pandering to them. Obama ducked the question, Romney is being more concrete, pointing to his experience as Governor. Romney is KILLING it about women's issues - workplace flexibility and child care particularly. This could turn into a real win for him.

9:35 - Obama talking big picture and making dollars and sense about Romney's budget - pointing out vagueness in Romney's plan about specific deductions. It'll have to be paid for by closing deductions not only for the wealthy but also the more popular deductions - employer-provided health care, mortgage interest, etc.

9:30 - Obama echoing Romney on tax plan. Glad he brought up deficit attention, as many Republicans are deficit hawks with no meat behind their plans. Why can't tax revenue from high earners go toward deficit reduction?

9:26 - Let's talk taxes :) Romney asserts middle-income citizens have been "buried" by taxes - yet the tax burden on Americans is the lowest in modern history. According to him, high-income taxpayers will continue paying their tax rate - which is effectively, for Romney, 14%. What loopholes will he close? TBD

9:20 - Things just got fiesty. Obama's taking a few lessons from Biden and interrupting Romney when he's wrong. Romney flexing his muscles, saying that gas prices are indicitive of working energy prices? What about those who support a higher gas tax? Fossil fuels are not our future.

9:15 - Obama and Romney are speaking different languages: Obama focused on renewable energy sources at home (though unfortunate he doesn't support a gas tax) while Romney is pro-drilling at home and supports coal. Nothing too surprising or changed from their policy stances. I'm waiting to be wowed. 

9:11 - Initial impressions, part 1: So far Obama and Romney are both more approachable and not spouting facts, but much much more reserved than Biden and Ryan. Both are trying to project a presidential demeanor. Looks like this will be a wonkish night.

9:07 - Happy to see that the first question is about young people, it's refreshing to see Millennials up front for once. Romney's not addressing making school affordable as much as talking about the economy and creating jobs. Important, but not the main point. Obama is also talking about jobs. Thanks, but what about the litmus test of having a college degree? So far, I'm not impressed with either candidate's answers.

8:44 - I am live-blogging from the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, at an event hosted by the Domestic Policy Corps. My companions are graduate and undergrad students who are supportive of both political parties. We will be conducting live polling during the debate - which will provide a snapshot of what students on a liberally-leaning campus think in real time. Let the games begin!

The presidential election is comparable to a naval battle: tactical and calculated, with occaisonal bursts of fire, and a blunder or two. In the polls, the candidates are at a dead heat - but polls generally reflect is the strong partisan divide in our political system. What happened to independents?

Returning to naval analogies, Romney and Obama are tacking toward the middle ground, positioning themselves closer to each other and to undecided voters. Romney gained the greatest headway in the first presidential debate, where he assured Americans he would not raise taxes on the middle class. At all. Or the rich. Yet, he promises to balance the budget (details forthcoming).

Biden, Obama's lieutenant, was forced to clean up the mess (or "swab the decks") after Obama's  verbose and unexciting performance in the first debate. Biden prevailed (at least this is the consensus among Democrats) but largely did not affect the "independent status quo."

Will the two candidates end up saying the same thing with different wording? How much more will Obama be on the attack? These questions and more, including naval analogies, explored during live coverage of the second presidential debate.

Oct 16 Debate: 

Topic: Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
Moderator: Candy Crowley (CNN Chief Political Correspondent) 

The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have 2 minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live! For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page!

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Lydia Austin

Lydia is a graduate of the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and the former Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow in Economic Policy. She currently works at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. She cares about wealth inequality, our broken tax system, and promoting a more equitable society.

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