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Who won the debate? The debate winner is the person who swayed the most voters. Both candidates gave strong performances. Expectations were low for Obama after the first debate and tonight’s delivery beat expectations. This will generate votes for the President.  Romney’s delivery was no better than last time and did not exceed expectations.  Romney succeeded in staying toe-to-toe with Obama.  So, who won the debate?  

President Obama won the debate. While both looked strong, Romney’s case was not strong enough to replace the President we have now. Romney’s attacks on the president were void of context and President Obama has set in motion solutions to many of the problems that were discussed. Debt, jobs, and wages must be discussed in context and issues like energy independence, exports, and education have already been addressed by President Obama and are headed on the right track.

Watch Romney’s statements attacking the President from start-to-finish and consider some questions of context. 1) Did a financial crisis ever occur? 2) Has Obama achieved anything? 3) Did Republicans play any role in what happened?  

When I watch Romney’s statements they all make sense if I assume that no financial crisis ever occurred. For example, while it was true Obama stated he wanted to cut the deficit in half while he was a candidate, this was prior to a complete collapse of the economy. Tax revenue dropped to 51 year lows in relation to GDP and this occurred prior to Obama taking office. Sure wages are lower, but after the collapse there were a lot more workers available so employers can attract talent without wages being so high.

Obama’s leadership averted a depression and turned job losses of 839,000 per month to positive 161,000.  This is a one million job per month swing.  While the job recovery could be faster, this jobs recovery is faster than after any financial crisis in an advanced economy. According to Romney, Obama’s accomplishments are zero.  

Romney attacked Obama on debt, in the context that Paul Ryan single handedly blocked the Simpson-Bowles commission’s debt reduction measures from leaving the committee. The committee required unanimous consent and Paul Ryan blocked it stating that if the debt reduction measures passed it would help Obama in the election.

Consider Romney’s remarks about budgets he balanced. Sure, this is true without the details. Romney balanced the Olympic budget by bringing in millions from the federal government. Romney funded Romneycare without raising taxes, or adding to the deficit because half was paid for by the federal government. When Bain and Company (a different company) went bankrupt, Romney balanced that budget after months of lobbying the federal government when he brought in $10 million from the FDIC.  So, the federal government supplied funds to balance Romney’s budgets.

Romney attacked Obama on jobs, in the context that Republicans blocked debate on every jobs measure since gaining control of the house. They refused to talk about anything that would generate jobs. The 20th bill blocked was a few weeks ago and would have helped many of the 700,000 unemployed veterans find jobs. The context of debt and jobs is important because Republicans used their power to write the script for Romney by blocking all progress on debt and jobs. Read more.

President Obama’s progress on doubling fuel economy standards for cars and research results allowing fuels like isobutanol to come to market, which will replace gas over time, launches us towards energy independence. President Obama has a clear plan on the table that spells out how deficits are reduced by four trillion dollars. That work is done. The housing market is recovering, prices are going up, home building is growing. Banks are lending more to businesses. Schools are already rapidly improving under President Obama’s “Race to the top,” program. Exports are on track to double under Obama’s “National Export Initiative.” Complete jobs bills are on the floor of Congress that would add more than a million jobs this year alone if Republicans allowed debate so everyone’s ideas could fuse into a passable bill.  

Obama passed his health care reform as promised. While Romney is correct that business leaders are concerned, let’s go to context. The number one concern with regards to hiring when Obama ran for office was skyrocketing healthcare costs. If you look now, the highest concern is political uncertainty.  Health care costs and the Affordable Care Act are half the level of concern. The health care law removed skyrocketing healthcare costs as the number one concern of business leaders with regards to hiring.       

President Obama won the debate because he highlighted his achievements and Romney did not form a solid enough case for replacing him. Further, Romney’s statements pretend that no financial crisis ever occurred, and Republicans didn’t block 20 jobs bills, and assume President Obama accomplished nothing, when in fact he averted a great depression and led a one million job per month swing in the economy. Go ahead and watch the debate again. Watch Mitt Romney again through the entire debate, it is as though he has no idea a financial crisis ever happened.