First Debate in Denver favors Romney more than Obama

Photo by Stephanie Butzer

Students watch the debate in Oaks 207. Click for video. Photo by Stephanie Butzer

By Stephanie Butzer

More than 67.2 million people watched President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate at the University of Denver Wednesday night. The 90-minute discussion focused on domestic policy.

This viewer number is an enormous increase compared to the 2008 initial debate between Obama and McCain, which attracted 52 million people.

Jim Lehrer moderated, or attempted to moderate, the 90-minute debate. Within the first fifteen minutes, the debate started to whirl beyond Lehrer’s control. Jason Kirk, a political science professor at Elon University, said Lehrer also struggled with the questions.

“I do think the economy and the state of the country’s plans should have been at the forefront,” Kirk said.

Both candidates, especially Romney towards the beginning, interrupted Lehrer as he tried to keep the debate moving and on schedule. Obama and Romney both wanted to get in the last word and would not be silenced.

“For the first half an hour, I thought Romney did a very good job at over-speaking the president,” Emily Brenner, senior, said. “But then towards the end, I thought Romney became a lot more obnoxious and over-stepped his boundaries. ”

At the end of the night, publications and social media agreed Romney had the stronger position as he uncovered dozens of statistics. He had no issue commanding the direction of the debate while Obama, seemingly, passively listened.

“I reacted to how aggressive Mitt Romney was and how I was expecting Obama to be a lot more aggressive just from what we’ve seen before,” Alyssa Fonseca, senior, said.

Meanwhile, many Obama supporters wondered why the president was not aggressive in his attacks. He had not been in a debate since 2008 and he appeared much more submissive Wednesday night than at the previous presidential debates four years ago.

Obama failed to mention the 47 percent” video or Romney’s taxes, which point to personal wealth during the campaign. The president on the stage was the same one they saw on the television every day; many believe he was underprepared for the intense debate and defending himself.

Debate Dates

Debate Dates

Thursday morning produced countless discoveries by fact-checkers. Social media networks such as Twitter exploded with quotes, remarks and corrections. For example, Romney clearly stated he would not cut education funding, but has said several times in the past he supports a five percent decrease in educational spending.

“It was almost disappointing to also hear that the topic of education wasn’t even really talked about,” Demarius Hunt, junior said. “President Obama brought it up in that small segment and then it was over.”

On the other side, Obama said his budget plan would reduce deficits by $4 trillion over 10 years. While this may be true, some groups do not include war savings or lower interest on debt. His current budget shows a larger number: 5.3 trillion for those 10 years.

The next presidential debate will be Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.

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One thought on “First Debate in Denver favors Romney more than Obama

  1. andersj October 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm Reply

    It’s good to see the graphic on the upcoming additional debates. Good reporters help audiences plan ahead for important things in their lives.

    It was good to get a long, storytelling soundbite in the video clip, and you framed it well and the sound is clear, but it’s a weakness to hear you asking him questions. You generally want to re-ask the question and tell him to continue on to talk longer without your reinforcement or you need to edit the video. You found a guy who reasonably discussed the debate in a neutral way even though he’s already picked his candidate. That was important, because if you found one person for Obama and that’s all he talked about, you would also have to include one who supports Romney. This clip is good because this source shared an enlightened and interesting view of the debate in general. Of course ideally you would have had video of Kirk because he’s the political science professor, but I understand the constraints you were working under.

    AP Style: Never use “over” in reference to numbers. It is only to be used for spatial relationships, as in “the plane flew over the city.” Use “more than” to refer to numerical data. You need to fix your lead.

    Also in the lead, you use the phrase “supposed to.” When a reader sees that, he or she assumes that what was promised did not take place. You should only use that phrase when the anticipated outcome was not achieved. You need to substitute different language. No matter what you think about the tenor of the debate or the moderating of it, it did focus on domestic issues – not international.

    You need to copy edit this carefully throughout. For instance, you use the word “presidential” instead of “president” in one sentence. You do not tell readers WHERE Jason Kirk is a political science professor, you did not give a complete ID of your expert. You used “spit” in a spot where “spat” is grammatically correct, and you might prefer to use something other than “spat” there because Romney was sharing details and he was moving quickly but I don’t think “spat” is the appropriate verb – it is seen as being more vicious than he was being while sharing rapid-fire information. The word every day is ALWAYS spelled as two words unless it is used in front of a noun to describe that noun: I watch Stephanie report every day. She is an everyday hero in the work she does!

    Think through this and improve it for your final portfolio.

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