Presidential Debate 2012: Hofstra – The School for Hard Knocks
Some labeled the latest Presidential debate as being somewhat akin to a boxing match. “Wrestlemania” might be a more apt description. How about a food fight? Mud wrestling, maybe? In the run-up to the debate, many pundits believed that the town hall format would not lend itself to such shenanigans, boy were they wrong…
This debate was one for the books – drama, heated exchanges, controversy… At various points in the debate, I thought the opponents would square off on each other… We might have needed a referee as opposed to a moderator.
The President Plays Rocky. Sylvester Stallone would be proud… President Obama needed to come out swinging and he did not disappoint. He needed to re-energize his base by demonstrating passion. He did this and vigorously defended his record and challenging Governor Romney on a number of things including his economic plan, calling it a “one point” program (Mr. Romney refers to it as a “five point plan”). The President also referenced “Big Bird” and Mr. Romney’s “47% remark.”
“I, Robot,” Not Me. It has been said that even Governor Romney’s friends refer to him as an “android.” I don’t believe that to be the case any longer. Mr. Romney demonstrated passion as well as his humanity by recounting a number of anecdotes. For his part, Mr. Romney came off as a CEO – he was in command of facts and figures and referenced his experience in the private sector. He took the President to task on the automakers’ bankruptcies as well as the oil drilling permits.
Stick to the Script. Both men did this fairly well. While Mr. Romney repeatedly attacked the President’s record, President Obama portrayed his opponent as wealthy and out-of-touch. I’m not sure how much the electorate cares about Benghazi or international affairs in general; however, jobs and the economy are two key issues and Mr. Romney continually referred to both throughout the evening.
Homage the Heritage. Both candidates drew associations to successful administrations of the past… President Obama linked himself to the Clinton Administration while Governor Romney invoked the name of President Reagan, the Patron Saint of the Republican Party. He also handled the question about how he differed from former President George W. Bush quite well, again presenting himself as viable alternative.
Moderator or Third Participant. The opinions of Candy Crowley’s performance as moderator will most likely be split along party lines. It has been reported that the President had 44:04 minutes compared to 40:50 for the challenger, according to CNN. Perhaps one of the biggest moments in the debate came over the matter in Libya. During the debate, Romney said it took Obama two weeks to declare it a “terrorist attack,” a point that Ms. Crowley said was false, noting that President Obama called it a terror attack in his Rose Garden remarks. Obama actually said “no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.” Following the debate Ms. Crowley conceded Romney had been “right in the main” but chose the wrong words.
Earlier, I asked a question about the effectiveness of the performances by the candidates. I get the feeling that the American public would like to see this thing over and done with and that we get on with the business of addressing our country’s issues. I also get the feeling that we are tired of seeing our politicos brawling and would rather see them using that energy for the betterment of our society. Well, the end is in sight…