Contrary to what I previously suggested, the first presidential debate actually turned out to be not as much of a joint press conference as they have been in the past. By no means, however, did it reach the threshold of an actual debate.
Governor Romney came out swinging, a strange move for him. President Obama seemed to immediately be on the defensive and never really recovered, though he did get better as the debate dragged on. Yes, Governor Romney exceeded expectations and did what he needed to do in rising to the occasion. Willie Brown, the former mayor of San Francisco, summed it up pretty well: “What I think happened last night is I think Barack Obama frankly went to sleep. He anticipated being perceived as arrogant, being perceived as a genius, being perceived as taking advantage of a lesser, and he decided to back off of all of that. In the process of all of that, however, he forgot to continue to think. And at each point where there needed to be someone calling to the world’s attention the inadequacies in the presentation being made by Mr. Romney, the inaccuracies therein, he should’ve done that and it would not have been inconsistent with him being what he is suposed to be.” This would’ve been a great time for the Secretary of Explaining Stuff to show up.
So, what did Governor Romney say that was inaccurate? Quite a bit, actually. But, you can find all the info on that here.
Contrary to what some of my close friends might say, I’m not a raging liberal who only spouts the Democratic platform and will defend President Obama with my last breath. I am liberal, I agree with a good portion of the Democratic platform and I will defend the president on certain issues. But, his performance in the debate on Wednesday evening makes it difficult for me to do so. I agree with Mayor Brown; it’s like he wasn’t there.
I’m not keen on discussing, in depth, what I consider to be superficial issues. However, President Obama constantly looking down at his notes while Governor Romney was speaking came off as distant, like he really did not want to be there. Regardless, he’s on a national stage with 67 million people watching: he needs to be aware of his body language and that did not play well.
My biggest issue with the president was that he did not attack Governor Romney when he fabricated so many things. That was the time to pounce! Maybe he didn’t want to seem too professorial. Too bad! If Governor Romney is falsifying information, you have a duty to call him out! Do not give Governor Romney a pass and let him spout his lies. You did not cut $716 billion from Medicare. Defend that! You did not put in place a board that tells people what medical treatment they can and cannot receive. Defend that! Make Governor Romney explain how he’s going to pay for a massive tax cut while balancing the budget. The math doesn’t add up!
I think the best way to sum up my feelings on the debate is to use one word: disappointment. I’m disappointed that the president was unable to summon the fire he has on the campaign trail to stand up for what he and so many other Americans believe in. I’m disappointed that the president allowed Governor Romney to exaggerate and fabricate all evening. I’m simply disappointed and sincerely hope that during the next two debates we will see the President Obama we see on the campaign trail; the president who is passionate and ready to get back to work for the entire country.