It was a riveting first debate of the presidential election, Thursday, Oct. 3. The debate lived up to its reputation as a night known for tiptoeing around the question, faking a smile while simultaneously holding tongues, subtle head shaking, and of course plowing over the mediator for every possible second available. The two candidates were separated by red and blue ties, but more importantly ideals.
It all began with the economy.
The first section of the debate was a merry-go-round of contradictions regarding Romney’s 5 trillion dollar tax cut. Romney repeatedly stated that he has no 5 trillion dollar tax cut, he would not support one, and alluding to the fact that it is a fabrication.
Obama argued back by saying, “For 18 months he’s been running on this tax plan. Now, 5 weeks before the election, he’s saying ‘never mind.’”
He continued, “If you believe that we can cut taxes by $5 trillion and add $2 trillion in additional spending that the military is not asking for, $7 trillion, just to give you a sense, over 10 years, that’s more than our entire defense budget, and you think that by closing loopholes and deductions for the well-to-do, somehow you will not end up picking up the tab, then Governor Romney’s plan may work for you.”
When Romney discussed the importance of small businesses, Obama pointed out, “By Gov. Romney’s standards, Donald Trump is a small business man. I know Donald Trump doesn’t like to think of himself as small anything.”
Romney repeatedly brought up statements he’s received from working Americans, and said, “I don’t want to cost jobs. My priority is jobs.”
Next, the candidates discussed the federal debt.
Romney referred to this as a “moral issue” and pointed out all of the debt that Obama has built during his presidency.
The candidates shot back and forth, as Romney enforced, “You raise taxes, you kill jobs.”
Obama spoke about how Romney has ‘ruled out revenue.’
“Governors are creative. There’s no doubt about it. But they’re not creative enough to make up for 30 percent of revenue on something like Medicaid. What ends up happening is some people end up not getting help,” said Obama.
Obama said, “Right now, you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. I think most Americans would say that doesn’t make sense. And all that raises revenue.” Romney looked confused.
“You said you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas. Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said Romney, “I maybe need to get a new accountant.”
The candidates have very different opinions when it comes to what Obama refers to as a ‘voucher plan.’ He claims that the plan, although giving the option for Medicare, would ultimately cause Medicare to collapse. He also said that AARP claims Romney’s plan would weaken Medicare substantially.
“I have become fond of this term, Obamacare,” Obama joked.
“The cost of healthcare is just prohibitive.” Romney said. “I prefer private insurance.”
Obama said that costs will go down once the plan becomes fully implemented, but he said we are already seeing improvements.
There was a small time allotted for the opinions on government regulation over the economy.
“Does anybody out there think that the big problem we had is that there was too much oversight and regulation of Wall Street? Because if you do, then Governor Romney is your candidate,” said Obama, “But that’s not what I believe.”
“Sorry, but that’s just not the facts.” Romney said, “We have to have regulation on Wall Street.” Romney claimed that we need a regulation that is clear.
Finally, it was time to discuss the federal government.
When it comes to the safety of the American people, Obama said it’s, “Something I’ve worked on and thought about every day that I’ve been in the oval office.”
He also said he wanted to create a framework that would help Americans succeed, “The genius of America is the free enterprise system and freedom.”
Romney disputed, “What we’re seeing right now is, in my view, a trickle-down government approach, which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams. And it’s not working.”
“We need to have leadership in Washington,” said Romney, “I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again.”
Obama said, “My faith and confidence in the American people is undiminished,” promising to fight just as hard in his second term.
Romney proposes the question, “What kind of America do you want to have for yourself and your children?” He says, “I will keep America strong, and get America’s middle class working again.”
After an evening of political squabbling, the candidates mustered up the strength to graciously shake hands and smile.