Presidential Candidates Face-Off: One-Nil to Romney?
After months of speculation, the United States Presidential Campaign finally became real last night following the first Presidential Debate between President Barack Obama of the Democratic Party and his Republican challenger, Former Governor Mitt Romney. The Debate was hosted at the University of Denver in Colorado and focussed on economic issues. The economy is the biggest issue in the election, with the US, like much of the world, still struggling to recover from prolonged recession.
In the 90-minute session, both candidates sought to set out their vision for America, while showing how their opponents ideas would fail to get the American economy to improve. In this area, it was the Republican who seemed to do better. Romney stuck to the theme of undoing Democratic attempts to describe him as a plutocrat with little idea of how ordinary, middle-income Americans live by using anecdotes from the campaign trail to underscore how his policies would help such voters.
While Obama’s decent performance still seemed stilted and dispassionate, Romney made use of the President’s failure to highlight some of the Republican candidate’s weak spots, not least his claims over the ‘47%’ who depend on welfare. The President seemed to depend more on intricate detail within the debate rather than try to tackle his opponent head-on.
This resulted in many pundits arguing that Romney won the debate, with him highlighting his record as Governor of the liberal state Massachusetts and his bi-partisanship in that role to paint himself as a credible candidate for the White House and distance himself from the Tea Party movement who he had little choice but to court in his party’s primary, yet who threaten to undermine the Republican campaign from within.
But with two more Presidential Debates later this month as well as a Vice-Presidential debate between Vice-President Joe Biden and Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan taking place next week, it is still far too early to tell whether this debate performance will cause a shift in the polls away from Obama.
The next debate between the Presidential nominees will take place in New York on October 16, with the final debate being held in Florida on October 22.