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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Debate 1: Team Obama


Well, that was surprising. Just when it seemed that his campaign had kicked the bucket, Romney lied his way into Frankenstein’s laboratory and brought it back to life with a great performance. He seemed confident and sure of his words while Obama faltered. Although he had many opportunities to attack Romney on any of his gaffes that have held him back this electoral cycle, Obama held back which caused him to look feeble. This faltering wasn’t entirely his fault, as Romney seemed to introduce new policies on stage and dismissed any old policies that moderate voters wouldn’t agree with. The good news is that at least the moderator performed worse than Obama.

This debate’s topics were all domestic, with an emphasis on health care, the main differences between the candidates’ philosophies of governing, and the economy. It was expected that Obama wouldn’t be amazing on these topics considering that these are the policies that his opposition have been demonizing for the past four years; even if he had done better, the mythology that the Republicans have painted would have caused him to look out of touch for continuing to support his “failed” policies.

In an attempt to play it safe, Obama didn’t press the attack on Romney and instead expected the Republican candidate to damage himself with a mediocre performance. This backfired when Romney blindsided him by actually appearing to be a real person for once. In addition, Romney masterfully danced around his proposed policies by describing them in very vague terms, and then claimed that Obama was incorrect when he tried to confront Romney’s vague statements. But who can really argue against a policy that hasn’t been

properly put forth?

This was visible right from the beginning of the debate when the moderator asked the first question about the economy. Romney proposed his plan to decrease the taxes for the middle class while simultaneously not raising the debt by reducing the amount of deductions that citizens can claim to reduce their income taxes. Obama attacked by stating that these reduced deductions wouldn’t offset the tax cuts, which Romney countered by saying that they would. Obama then cited a non-partisan fact checking organization to prove his point, which Romney then countered by claiming that the organization was biased. This back and forth, which amounted to little more than he-said, she-said, was absurd to witness in a Presidential debate.

Throughout the debate Romney kept coming back to the idea that the Obamacare bill cut $716 billion from the Medicare budget, and that this will hurt the citizens that use the system. This is entirely inaccurate, and Romney knows it. In fact, President Obama mentioned these cuts first, and explained that this is money that was saved from the system by cutting excess spending and overpayments.

This is another case of the he-said, she-said in that one of them is lying, and someone should be able to call them out on it. Unfortunately, politics have become so polarized that people listen to the viewpoints they want to hear instead of the facts.

One of the most highly publicized comments of the debate was when Romney stated that if he’s elected President he would cut the funding for PBS, causing Big Bird to be a victim of the cut. The United States government currently spends roughly $144 million on funding for local PBS stations, which contrasts with his support for an additional $2 trillion in defense spending. While Romney claims that he supports more funding for education, he apparently believes that the military needs the money more in this case. To put this into perspective, this additional $2 trillion in funding that Romney wants for the military is roughly equal to 13,889 years of funding for PBS.

Why is military spending put on a pedestal above all other forms of spending at a time when everything else is on the table?

One of Obama’s biggest handicaps in this debate was his demeanor, and it is something that he should make sure to improve for the next debate. Obama seemed to miss the memo reminding him that the camera would always be trained on him; as a result, whenever Obama wasn’t speaking, he appeared to be defeated and barely attempted to conceal his annoyment at Romney.

On the other hand, Romney was energetic and always smiling. The instant polls declared

Romney to be the clear winner, but the ads that have already begun to air have been attacking Romney for the many mistruths that he stated as facts. Only time will tell if President Obama will be able to improve and fend off Romney’s attempt to lie his way into the Oval Office.

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