Denver, Colorado to host first Presidential Debate
On Wednesday October 3rd, President Obama and Governor Romney will square off in the first of three presidential debates (there is 1 vice-presidential debate as well on October 11th). Jim Lehrer will moderate the debate which will focus on domestic policy issues. The 90 minute debate will be in a traditional format, where both candidates stand behind a podium. The first debate is estimated to be watched by 50-60 million viewers.
Many of the battleground states (Ohio, Iowa, etc.) have already begun “early voting.” By the second debate (October 16th), a third of the ballots will have been cast. It is imperative that Mitt Romney have a great performance. Any other outcome and this race is pretty much over with. As it stands now, President Obama leads in every major national poll (Rasmussen, Gallup, Washington Post, CNN) in terms of likely voters and in those “battleground states.” As much as the Romney camp likes to downplay the importance of this first debate, he knows that this will ultimately decide the election.
Romney has to not only “win” this debate, but he has to be brilliant. He needs to have the same gravitas he exhibited in the Florida debate (during the Republican primary) after his double-digit lose in the South Carolina primary to Newt Gingrich (or as I like to call him “Chucky”). He needs to, in detail, tell the American people what he plans to do. He will never have the same audience again for any of the other debates. I think that most “undecided voters” will make up their minds in this first debate. Romney acknowledges that not only does he need to win the independent vote; he also needs to sway moderate Obama supporters. Romney continues to state in his campaign speeches and interviews that President Obama is a great debater.
President Obama is one of the greatest orators of our generation. His oratory excellence propelled him to victory in 2008. I don’t know if I’d say he is as excellent in debating (basing this on the 2008 debates) as he is a speaker. He tends to exclude brevity in his responses and he becomes easily defensive if he feels attacked. Though, I’d hesitate to underestimate the president in these debates. This election isn’t like past elections. Anything can happen.
The president is also downplaying the significance of the first debate. His administration is attempting to perpetuate the notion that the president is “rusty.” Of the two candidates the president is the only one to debate on such a prominent stage. I would safely assume the president has debated various issues within in his administration and with foreign diplomats. It is his job after all. So I don’t buy both these candidates downplaying the debate. They both know how important it is. The reason they downplay it is that if they win then the headlines will read: “(Insert Name) surprises with a great victory.” And subsequently if one “loses” the debate that campaign will point out that the other candidate is the stronger debater and so they expected the result.
These are the three things I want to see from both candidates:
- Specificity in their proposed policies
- It doesn’t cut it to tell me what you want to accomplish. I need to know how you plan on doing and I need to know the specific policies you will legislatively implement.
- Some type of realization to the dire economic state
- Someone who is more interested in explaining what HE will do and what HE has done as opposed to what the challenger has done or will do
The first presidential debate will ultimately decide the election. Romney has to win to have any chance of becoming president. He needs to bring his “A+ game.” President Obama needs to realize that this race isn’t over. Nothing is for certain. As Mathew Dowd, ABC News political correspondent, said last week: “President George W. Bush didn’t properly prepare for the 2004 debate versus challenger Senator John Kerry. Bush’s 7% lead in the national polls dropped to 1% in 48 hours.
Anything can happen
Anything will happen
Don’t take anything for granted
*Side note: The first debate airs on every local channel at 9e/8c/6p. I will be tweeting during the debate. You can follow me @adrakontaidis or @talkrealdebate. You could also email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.