Breaking down the presidential debate
The first presidential debate of 2012 was at the University of Denver on Wednesday night, moderated by PBS' Jim Lehrer.
|Barack Obama, 51|
Elected president after one term in U.S. Senate and eight years in Illinois State Senate. Married with two daughters.
|Mitt Romney, 65|
Former governor of Massachusetts; founded Bain Capital, a venture capital firm. Married with five sons.
|Does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money, when they're making money every time you go to the pump? ... Why wouldn't we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets? My attitude is, if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break.||I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to — I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.|
|For 18 months he's been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election, he's saying that his big, bold idea is, "Never mind."||You've been president four years. You said you'd cut the deficit in half. It's now four years later. We still have trillion-dollar deficits. The CBO says we'll have a trillion-dollar deficit each of the next four years. If you're re-elected, we'll get to a trillion-dollar debt.|
|Another memorable Obama line? Um . . .||I will not reduce the share paid by high-income individuals. I know that you and your running mate keep saying that and I know it's a popular thing to say with a lot of people, but it's just not the case.|
|Hard to name any particularly strong moment for Obama. Overall this was a debate that seemed aimed more at cable news pundits than helping average Americans make up their minds. In demeanor, Obama lost big.||No single best moment but Romney dominated most of the debate and should give Republicans a jolt of optimism. He was confident, prepared and presidential.|
|Constantly looking down at his notes, rather than at Romney, did nothing to help Obama. But how many people opted not to change the channel is entirely uncertain.||Romney would be wise to stop arguing with the moderator and playing rules maven. ("The president began this segment, so I think I get the last word.") Sounds a little whiny.|
|Rating the performance|
|Obama should hope most undecided voters became bored by the endless numbers because it was a bad night for the president. Between two candidates offering more technicalities than vision or inspiration, Romney consistently looked at ease, while Obama often looked peevish.||Excellent. He looked like he was at least equal to the president. He may not have jumped past the likable/inspiration threshold, but at least in demeanor Romney showed he's ready for the job.|