Okay I just have to say right off the bat, I really liked the debate format used in the first Presidential debate. I felt like it gave the candidates a chance to get a lot more information out there, without the usual deer-in-the-headlights glare that comes from constantly being under the gun of the two-minute timer.
Another point that really goes without saying: Romney won this debate, hands-down. He was more than present – he was Presidential. Obama appeared utterly uninterested, unprepared, defensive, and petulant.
Now with all that out of the way, here are the things I reacted to most strongly throughout the debate, in no particular order of importance:
A. Early on, Obama made reference to spending on domestic issues “… the money we’re saving as we wind down two wars.” My problem here is that the “money we’re spending” is not money at all – it’s debt. And if we’re truly winding down two wars on which we’ve spent billions of borrowed dollars, we should be talking about how we’re going to STOP SPENDING instead of talking about how we’re going to KEEP BORROWING.
B. I liked that Romney, on several occasions, made the point that he would return responsibility for certain functions back to the states. This is where programs like education and health care belong.
C. Obama tried to suggest that Romney was disingenuous for not supporting Obamacare, when he (Romney) implemented “the same plan” in his own state of Massachusetts. Romney absolutely skewered this accusation by pointing out that in Massachusetts, he as a Republican governor assembled a bi-partisan plan that received yes votes from all but 2 of his state legislators – whereas Obama rammed his plan through with no bi-partisan support whatsoever. Romney also stated that his plan worked in Massachussetts, but that the needs of each state are different and so states should be entrusted to create their own plans.
D. Role of Government – Obama stumbled around about government having an opportunity to build “ladders of success.” Romney said the first role of Government is promote and protect the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. SKEWERED AGAIN.
E. Closing statements: Obama absolutely squandered his opportunity, trotting out the tired “fair shot” rhetoric he’s been using. Romney on the other hand talked about his concern for the path America is on, and how he and Obama represent two very different paths for the future. He alone drove home the main point of this entire debate: there is a very clear choice, America, and the path you choose in 2012 will make or break our future.