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What Lies Ahead for The Second Debate

Emily Goldberg |
October 4, 2012 | 5:03 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


Romney and Obama face off in the first presidential debate. (Creative Commons)
Romney and Obama face off in the first presidential debate. (Creative Commons)
The debate season kicked off last night in Denver as Obama and Romney faced off with Jim Lehrer as moderator. 

The debate was structured around a series of 15-minute segments discussing issues of the economy and domestic policy matters. However, both candidates seemed to ignore time cues, leaving only three minutes total time for the last segment. 

Although Obama dominated speaking time, Romney appeared more focused and pointed in his responses, leading to a jump in the polls. 

According to CNN/ORC Post Debate Poll, 67 percent of voters believed that Romney won the debate. Only 25 percent thought Obama was victorious. 

“Obama needs to show up as if he is a candidate, and needs to remember he is running for reelection,” Stanford Professor of Political Science Jack Rakove said.

Rakove said that Romney showed more confidence and fluidity while Obama was not as successful in enumerating his points. 

“A lot of it comes down to manner, presentation and assertiveness,” Rakove said.

Yet, this is nowhere near the end of the road for Obama. By being more assertive in the next debate, Rakove believes that Obama can regain his position. 

ALSO SEE: First Debate: Obama's And Romney's Five Bests And Worsts

An important issue for Obama to address will be the topic of national debt. According to Rakove, neither of the candidates adequately addressed this issue and, if Democrats can stop shying away from the issue, it could lead to successful results.

Romney, however, will be fighting hard to maintain his popularity after the first debate, and ride the success he has seen.  

One of Romney’s strong points throughout the debate was addressing Obama’s record of high unemployment and a sluggish economy. 

“Romney used Obama’s incumbency to his advantage,” Rakove said, and pointed out that he can continue to use this strategy in the upcoming debates. 

Yet success in the debate may not be an accurate representation of Romney’s progress. Rakove stated that Obama still has the advantage in terms of his map of the Electoral College.

In the next debate it will be crucial for Obama to have more presence, and address issues of the economy head on. 

ALSO SEE: Debate Offers Rare Obama-Romney Face-To-Face Encounter

In a Reuters article, a top Senate Democratic aide expressed his disappointment in Obama’s performance. 

“Obama didn’t even seem as if he wanted to be there,” the aide said. 

For Romney, the next debate will aluminate whether he can continue to dominate discussion, and propel himself forward through displaying such confidence. 

The candidates will face off again in New York on Oct. 16. 


Read more debate coverage here.

Reach Staff Reporter Emily Goldberg here.



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