Based on everything what I read and hear during last few weeks I was expecting that US President Barack Obama would win this first debate and that he would officially start his final stretch towards second term in the White House. Also based on same expectations and predictions Mitt Romney was suppose to be very bad and to start losing his path on the road to victory in November. Third very important element to me was that Jim Lehrer was chose to be moderator of this debate, as someone with extensive debates experience and journalistic sharpness was suppose to be the man in control but he unfortunately failed.
After first hour and a half of debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney we can say this. Barack Obama was rusty and somehow unprepared that he didn’t have always great points to reply on Mitt Romney attacks and his actions over the last four years in the Oval Office. Other element of his, I wouldn’t say failure, but mistake is his body language which was more focused on writing notes than to watch his rival when he speaks. President missed a chance to point out in how many areas his predecessor and his administration made mistakes over economy and banking sector over the eight years in the office. I would not know what to say about his better sides because I’m not so sure that he had any tonight. If he continues with defensive agenda and being focused on his notes rather on his rival in debate, I think that Romney would have clear 2-0 lead over the President.
Romney’s strongest sides in this debate were attacks on Obama’s record on the health care, nations debt and economics results. He’s body language was more energized, smiling and more gesturing when he was addressing public in the room and in front TV. As President was strong with female population, Romney was stronger with male population especially over health care issues which is one of the most important issues in the campaign. Romney succeed to tie everything to job creation which could move US forward over from the place where is placed now. He’s major failure tonight was that he clearly didn’t declare details about his plans, everybody was expecting that his five step plan would be more detailed tonight at the domestic debate but as we saw he thinks that just promise of change would help him to win.
Jim Lehrer who is journalistic legend and one of the most experienced people in the profession when it comes to presidential debates tonight was the weakest part. Most of the time he was silent, absent and he let them to shut him up and cut him whenever they want. Also his problem was that he let Romney to lead the debate and be real moderator. One more argument against Lehrer was that he didn’t ensure that both speakers would stay on the time and that would get fair share of time time, Obama finished debate with 4 minutes of extra time. This kind of events especially in today’s world of social media and high speed journalism needs much younger and much sharper mind to control rivals in debate. I think that Lehrer should finally implement what he was planing to do in 2008 and retire from presidential debates and pass the torch on some new generation.
Coming into the second debate President Obama will have some advantage with Town Hall meeting format which would also include foreign policy. Foreign policy could help him a lot because we know that Romney doesn’t have extensive experience with international politics and he already caused many problems to himself with foreign policy comments. What’s expected from Obama is to start attacking Romney and to show his real hunter sense to tie Romney to his words and facts. Romney in the second debate doesn’t need to change too much but as I said should be careful on his foreign policy statements and to get ready to face Obama’s full attack mode.
Polls numbers will tie, Romney would get some more money on his account, but there’s not clear chance to predict who will win in November.