|photo CNN, words F LoBuono|
Last night's first Presidential Debate between President Barrack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, in my view, did little to change the minds of those of us who are already committed to our candidates. The choice remains clear, as it has from the very beginning. However, it still must be said that these debates may do much to persuade those who are not so clear in their choice. Therefore, it is important that each candidate do his best to not only put forth his platform on the issues, but to show the intangibles that are necessary to lead as well. In this sense, I believe that Governor Romney seized a good deal of the initiative with his performance last night. He was clear. He was crisp. He was sure. And, in a certain sense, he was likable, something that he was sorely lacking for most of his campaign. He was direct in presenting his direction for the Country. The President seemed "tired" and, at times, even "disinterested". It appeared that his strategy was to allow Mr. Romney enough rope to hang himself. However, again, IMHO, The President's strategy failed because Mr. Obama failed to tighten the noose. Mr. Romney continually distorted the facts (if not outright lied) regarding his plans for America's future. For example, Politifact (politifact.com/Pulizer Prize winning, independent, fact checking web site) reported that of the 5 "studies" Mr. Romney used to back-up his tax plan, only 2 could be called legitimate and, therefore, reliable "studies". According to the Politifact system, it was rated as mostly false. He still had some accurate details in the plan - just not enough.
Now, it's each candidate's job to take some fact and make it mostly fact. That's how the "game" is played. However, it's also the candidate's job to call out his opponent when he stretches the facts to the breaking point. And, this, Mr. Obama failed to do. He did not seize the opportunity to call into question Mr. Romney's ultimate veracity. According to what I learned in Debating 101, this is a key to winning one!! This gave Mr. Romney the advantage of appearing to have not only the clearer vision, but the better one, as well. Of course, that is, until you really look into the plan. This will be used (and rightly so) to Mr. Romney's advantage, especially to those who have not yet committed to either candidate. Allowing this to happen was clearly a mistake on Mr. Obama's part.
Still, we should not be blinded and not see the forest through the trees. It is just a debate and debates are designed as a platform for the CANDIDATES. I really do believe that each man has the ability to lead this Country. However, WHERE and HOW they would lead us is starkly different. It's up to us, the voter, to see them for what they are. We must do our homework to see beyond the image, beyond the rhetoric to truly see the message and, ultimately, the direction. To me, the choice is still clear - as it has been from the beginning. Soon, it will be time for all of us choose and that direction will be made a reality. And, THAT is what ultimately makes America great.