Who Won the Presidential Debate 2012: Obama Beats Romney, But Both Candidates Came Off Stong

It is a neck and neck race going into the town hall presidential debate this week. All eyes will be turned to Barack Obama following a resolute commitment to ante up his performance this time around. It is no secret that Obama’s followers were left disappointed and confused after a lackluster first debate, while Romney’s energized offensive catalyzed a jump at the polls. But the undecided voting public can still be easily swayed. Both candidates will be fighting for traction in the public esteem and a much needed advantage for the last debate.

Despite a condescending and controversial performance last Thursday night, Joe Biden set the stage for a potential return by Obama. While Paul Ryan did his best to hold his ground during the vice presidential debate, the politician from Scranton, Pennsylvania pulled out the stops and let loose the cannon, outgunning Ryan on domestic policy and foreign policy. Ryan had a number of powerful criticisms directed at Obama’s record, yet his lack of any real policy alternatives was ruthlessly exploited by Biden. The victory clearly belonged to Biden.

Now Obama must pick up where Biden left off; luckily he is no stranger to national town hall debates. His 2008 performance against John McCain helped him secure his first presidential victory. But with an ebbing popularity and a hungry opponent Obama will have to make sure to stay vigorous and effective throughout the night. If Mitt Romney has proven one thing during this campaign it has been that he is still a contender for the presidency, despite a number of gaffes and questionable stances that have threatened to derail him along the way. 

This time around, the issues will range from domestic policy to foreign policy, and if the vice presidential debate was an indicator, then personal beliefs will be on trial as well. Obama has the upper hand on domestic issues, given the scattered pronouncements and vague proposals made by the Romney-Ryan camp, not to mention Romney’s Achilles heel: the Ryan healthcare plan. Yet, when it comes to foreign policy, Obama’s record will be under severe scrutiny. His achievements have been overshadowed as of late by an unraveling situation in Libya, a war in Afghanistan that is threatening to destabilize a nuclear Pakistan and an Iran advancing fast towards developing nuclear weapons.  He will have to conjure a spirited defense as well as acknowledge lessons learned to garner support for another presidential bid.

This historic debate is scheduled for 9:00 pm this Tuesday night, October 16th 2012. It will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead New York and will be moderated by Candy Crowley.

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

Update: 10:42 pm Finally Obama brings up the 47%, about time!

10:41 pm Obama's denouement is spot on... this is a matter of philosophy....  a market based economy needs to be regulated and the playing field needs to be evened out.  The era of deregulation and freemarkets have left us in ruins... it's time that we wake up and start addressing these problems....

10:37pm Does anybody else feel like this is all we watched?

 

10:32 pm According to Obama the Corporate tax rate is too high: he is proposing cutting it to 28%, Romney 25%....

10:31 pm It is interesting that Romney is complaining of China's currency manipulation, since he benefited tremendously form the resulting cheap labor:

10:28 pm Chris Rock on gun control, candidates take note:


10:27 pm Regarding Obama's hometown of Chicago, the city currently has one of the highest homicide rates in the US, experiencing '400 slaying(s)... through Sept 25' as well as an increase in gang activitiy, according to the Chicago Tribune

10:24 pm Romney throwing out the ol' family values card, the crowd did not like that....

10:21 pm Gun violence is out of control in the US: Politifact confirms that "100,000 people get shot every year.... 270 a day..."  Clearly we can do more....

10:17 pm There should be more discussion of foreign policy right now.... The bombings in Pakistan causing 852 civilian deaths; the threat of Iran; a trigger happy Israel... etc etc

10:16 pm Regarding the war in Iraq... it actually has not ended, there are still thousands of US special forces as well as tens of thousands of private contracters operating in the country

10:12 pm Clinton took the fall for Benghazi, this was most likely politically motivated....

10:11 pm Libya front and center....  intervening in the Libyan civil war has come back to haunt Obama....

10:10 pm Romney's advocacy of self-deportation could lead to a soft-force exodus of millions of immigrants...  given that immigration is cheap labor which allows for fresh turnover of industry and innovation, it is a necessary part of our economy, not something that we want to get rid of....

10:04 pm Under Romney, according to WaPo, young immigrants currently protected under Obama's policies would be sent packing....  He has pledged to end the Dream Act... 

10:02 pm Romney seems infatuated with his Mexican past....

10:01 pm Unemployment is a serious issue, but the evidence suggests that the situation would be much worse without the steps that the Obama administration took....  Without those policies the unemployment rate would be 2% higher....

9:55 pm Obama has done well in keeping some of his campaign promises, but what about a commitment to uphold the law?  Amy Goodman at DemocracyNow points out that the President has violated the consitution by authorizing American citizens abroad.... That's no small matter....

 9:51 pm Here's a question that keeps popping up:  will Obamacare hurt small businesses?  Well, we know that they don't like it, 67% of small businesses are concerned about complying with this law...  Small businesses are hurt when they fail to comply, being forced to pay a penalty of up to $3,000 per employee...

9:49 pm Effectively, there is no difference between Romney and Bush....  his 20% tax cuts would basically be an extension of Bush's cuts, same with his energy policy

9:45 pm Despite the advances in women's rights, there is still significant discrimination, even when purchasing health plans....  Apparently, the discriminatory practice of gender rating by providers is costing women about $1 billion a year.   This is a significant issue given that healthcare is under scrutiny right now

9:40 pm Ok, so here is the key difference between the deficits Obama has been running and that Romney is calling for...  Obama's are for public investment, the only way to jumpstart the economy when investors won't do so....  Romney's deficits entail giving the rich more money that they will horde while the rest of us suffer in a recession....

9:37 pm "No it's not settled..."  Here it comes, again, this has been debunked over and over again.  These tax cuts will balloon the deficit.  They will cost $5 trillion over the next 10 years.  Moreover there are no real proposals as to how he will do it....  As Bloomberg pointed out, it is mathematically impossible....

9:31 pm 

9:28 pm   No taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends?  Isn't that the problem with our tax code?  How exactly does that help the middle class?  Basically Romney is calling for a highly regressive tax code, so much so that our high inequality would transform into a kind of serfdom...

9:24 pm Ouch, Candy taking charge... Sit down and raise your hand before you speak!

9:23 pm Factcheck:  Here's a fact check at CNN regarding energy production under Obama:  Natural gas has gone down, while oil has increased on public lands....

9:21 pm Will this come to blows?  Both men are standing and ready to throw a fist or two....

9:17 pm Mr Oil, Mr Gas and Mr Coal....  Who are they exactly?  Note on Romney's energy plan: no need to open up the natural reserves for drilling, start by investing in energy efficient infrastructure.  That will satisfy jobs creation as well...

9:16 pm One thing to note about Obama's comments on energy policy is that coal production is the dirtiest energy source, contributing far more to global warming than any other energy source.  Moreover, his foreign policy is putting America's foreign oil supplies at risk (destablized Pakistan, unravelling Libya etc etc)

9:12 pm Romney's mention of bankruptcy is surprising, given that he has made so much money on putting companies under during his tenure at Bain Capital...  As the NYTimes point out, leveraged buyouts drove the firm's profits and put victimized companies' underground...

9:10 pm Ok, so underlying Obama's response is the philosophy that government spending can stimulate the economy.  Glad to see him finally pushing the issue...  Now what he has to point out is that the first fiscal stimulus was constrained by Republicans, thus not allowing it to be as effective as possible....  Time for a new round of stimulus spending

9:09 pm Has Obama found his footing?  A right hook to Romney regarding the auto bailout...  

9:07 pm Some stats from the Department of Labor on youth unemployment.  The numbers are high

9:06 pm Sorry mumbling college student, but under Romney you can be sure you won't have a job.... under Obama you might... see my earlier post on Romney's jobs creating measures

9:04 pm Thus the debate begins.... 

9:00 pm Hopefully things stay civil tonight.... then again, it would be great if they turned out like this:

8:55 pm Tonight I will be joined by panelist Adom Malcolm Cooper.  Adom currently works at the UN  at the UNFPA agency and has exceptional knowledge of foreign policy.  Look for his astute CooperMic commentary...

8:10 pm The debate blogged in GIFs here at PolicyMic..... what more could you ask for?

Poor guy just got word about Paul Ryan's plans for healthcare:

8:00 pm A look at historical viewership during presidential debates.  Apparently most of the population doesn't watch them most of the time...  I wonder why?  Maybe if we had Gisele Bundchen mediate one of them it could do something to boost the ratings...

7:50 pm Here's a really important piece in the FT that did not get picked up by the rest of the press....  The NY Fed is worried that current mortgage lending is monopolized by a few large banks.  Thus, the benefits of QE3 (low interest rates) are not being passed along to borrowers...  Moreover, due to lack of oversight, the banks are back to their old securitizing ways... gotta love those economy destroying derivatives....  This should be brought up during the debate tonight...

7:41 pm A sweet pic of the debate venue...

7:37 pm 

7:30 pm Nobel economist Paul Krugman makes a solid point here: the Romney camp must be extremely contemptuous of the public if it feels justified in bold-faced lying about its jobs creation proposals: 'The (implausible) claim that tax cuts would add 7 million jobs was a 10-year estimate, not a 4-year estimate'...    

7:20 pm The Financial Times is predicting a defensive position by the president... That would be a sad fact if true.  Given Romney's numerous misrepresentation of the facts during the first debate, Obama should come out swinging like a prizefighter...

7:14 pm The Boss himself, telling it like it is during the 1936 election... How do we get this guy back?

7:09 pm John Cassidy takes a good look at the change in tone and the turn to hard-nosed politics between Obama's two presidential campaigns.  In many ways this is a move forward.  Spirited discourse has its place, but it can't undo the facts.  The public should not countenance soaring rhetoric when real policy needs to be examined....  Especially talk of 'Hope' which is such a dangerously misleading word.  What is hope exactly?  Progress is only made by a hard driving public working to ensure its freedoms; progress is most assuredly not something graciously handed down by our 'leaders.'  Thus, we don't need 'Hope', we need to be pushing our politicians to take action as well as holding them accountable...

6:50 pm You have to love American culture....  at least the decline is entertaining:

6:39 pm During the last debate, Biden scored huge points when he pointed out that Paul Ryan's hometown of Jainsville, Wisconsin relied on government funding for its recovery.  This case is particularly instructive in understanding how an economic rturnaround actually works.  Jainsville's economy went down the tubes after a GM plant closed.  Yet, the town has turned around due to government funded projects, such as a $10 million new facility for producing medical tracers and a federally funded expansion of I-90.  Check out Sargent's piece in WaPo for a good analysis.  What can we conclude from the Jainsville experience?  Unless you want to remain economically depressed, the government needs to pick up where markets fail, and spend spend spend

6:29 pm 

Hopefully this guy makes an appearance tonight....  just watch out for the claws

6:25 pm Ok a big thing to watch for tonight:  According to Romney's tax plan, there will be a 20% cut in the marginal rate across the board.  Obama's right in stating that this will amount to $5 trillion in lost revenue over 10 years, thus increasing the deficit.  Romney and Ryan have stated that this cut would be revenue neutral by 'broadening the base.'  Unfortunately, even with the most generous assumptions, as Bloomberg points out, this is mathematically impossible.  Not only will this proposed tax cut add to the deficit/debt, it's patently regressive, given the low actual rates the super wealthy already pay: ie capital gains.  Thus, Romney is calling for greater inequality and greater national debt.... something to keep in mind...

6:12 pm

6:09 pm A new piece in The New York Times cites several studies finding historic levels of inequality: "the top 1 percent of households now hold a larger share of overall wealth than the bottom 90 percent does."  While this is nothing new for those who have been following inequality in the US, this issue should be addressed during the debate.  Especially since Romney's policies are largely a continuation of Bush and Reagan era policies, eras which saw the greatest increases in inequality...

6:00 pm Gallup is currently reporting a four-point lead by Mitt Romney nationwide:

One thing to keep in mind is that the electoral college is what matters and this number will be determined by the swing states, thus national polls may not reflect electoral outcomes.