The Town Hall style debate held tonight between President Barack Obama and Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney was filled with fireworks and quick punches that left me breathless and wanting more! It was an exciting show of aggression and forwardness that revealed the wills and intellects of the debaters, as well as their drive to come out on top (much to the dismay of the moderator).
I watched the debate critically, examining what questions were asked and how they were responded two. Obama and Romney both fell victim to relying on rhetoric to make their point without making definite claims or getting into the details of their supposed solution. Obama fell to this on weapon control, mentioning how he wants to change the direction of the “conversation,” but forgetting to explain how. Romney fell into this trope when he was asked how he would rectify the inequality for women in the workplace.
Obama’s shining moment for me came in the beginning when he argued how he would fix the economy. He gave 5 points of attack: the tax code, reducing the deficit, cutting back on defense spending, energy development, and education. Romney relied heavily on his time in the private sector but did not give specifics. Romney hit a high point when asked how he would be different from President George W. Bush. He claimed he would focus on domestic energy, free trade, small business, and a balanced budget, ensuring voters that as president we would not be returned to the Bush era.
I’ll admit that it’s difficult as a student to find time to educate myself on the specifics of their plans, what’s proven to work, which side has the right idea. Both sides have networks of researchers that can create studies arguing any point under the sun. While I know that debates are not the ideal place to formulate political opinions (due to the theatrical nature of the event) it at least gives me a chance to see where the candidates hold their strengths, and where they falter or turn the question.