Most people are saying Mitt Romney is still in the game. That comes after the first televised debate between him and the incumbent Barack Obama in the US presidential race.
The debate was on economic lines, and the challenger played his successful business credentials for all they were worth. Obama said he thought the rich could afford to do more to help the country.
Obama said: “I believe that the economy works best when middle class families are getting tax breaks so that they have got some money in their pockets and those of us who have done extraordinary well because of this magnificent country that we live in, that we can afford to do a little bit more to make sure we are not blowing up the deficit.”
Romney moved to allay both deficit concerns and middle income earners’ fears about higher taxation.
He said: “My number one principle is there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that: no tax cut that adds to the deficit. But I do want to reduce the burden being paid by middle-income Americans. And to do that, that also means I cannot reduce the burden paid by high-income Americans.”
Politically attuned viewers were borne along as much by the candidates’ way of getting things across as by the order of the facts themselves.
Michael Senders, a student at Baruch College, New York , said: “I was very impressed by Governor Romney’s performance, specifically because although it might be criticised by many people I liked his aggressive approach and how he attacked a lot of the ideas and a lot of the topics that were to be discussed.”
Even Obama fans were disappointed.
Camille O’Brien, a student also at Baruch, said: “President Obama, he did great. He always does. He is a great speaker. I think he could have done better tonight, honestly. I am a fan of his, I like a lot of his policies, he seemed nervous for some reason, and almost let some questions throw him off, and Mitt Romney seemed to throw him off a bit as well.”
Obama looked down or away from Romney a lot, not always comfortable. Romney smiled a great deal. But the challenger successfully took the offensive.
We spoke to the ABC News Global Affairs Anchor, Christiane Amanpour about her morning-after impressions of the Denver debate.
Adrian Lancashire, Euronews:
On personality and specifics about ideas, did the candidates connect with the voters?
On some areas they did, on some areas they didn’t. I think in broad-brush terms though, the instant polls, the instant analysis shows that Romney won this first debate. According to most of what I’ve been listening to and watching and gauging since the debate, Romney won something like two thirds of the viewers. Now that is big for Romney because it was his to win or lose last night. He had not yet successfully connected with the voters, so the Republicans around this country are rejoicing after the performance of their candidate in that debate.
Did Romney get people to like him or is it a question that he convinced them that he is competent? One of the description of his performance I’ve heard of his performance is ‘vigorous’.
Well I think, definitely, vigorous would be a very good description. I was struck by the body language, because once you pass through a lot of the words, you come away with precious few details actually, broad brush strokes about what might make one candidate different from the other, but in terms of watching, and television is obviously a visual medium, that’s why these debates are so important for ordinary connection between the candidate and the potential voter, Romney was much more vigorous, he was much more dynamic, he was in charge verbally and with his body language.
Obama gets called the ‘Professor’ type; was he snappy enough?
He wasn’t snappy enough, according to the instant polls. We’ll see, you know; these things have a tendency to immediately have results right after. Then we’ll see how it settles down; we’ll see how it changes over the next debates.
Did the debate more than tweak the polling indicators among women’s groups , men, African Americans, white voters, Hispanics?
I think that is all coming out in the wash, so to speak, in the immediate aftermath, but particularly for women’s groups. The word ‘woman’ wasn’t mentioned once in the whole debate. That has got some women rankled, especially when you look at some of the reporting that was done outside the actual debate hall. Most of the signs, most of the people out there were women carrying banners, demanding that their rights be enshrined and not [be put] up for any negotiation. Yet that was not at all raised either by the moderator or by the candidates, particularly by President Obama. So there is a disappointment there. On the other hand, if you look at the national polling, up until now, Obama has had a significant lead amongst women. So in terms of who won, the insta-polls have given it to Romney. In terms of the actual interest groups, we will continue to see, that is continuing to play out. You know it is the first debate. It was very, very important. There are two more, and we’ll see how they play out.