Who won? That’s debatable
Marcus Clem | Collegio Reporter
After President Obama stumbled in his first meeting with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, he was desperate for an equalizer in the next contest. The nation watched to see if he would succeed. Failure co
uld have sealed the advantages Romney gained in the first debate and would have made it difficult to get re-elected.
Obama and Romney participated in a “town hall” debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The event put the candidates in a forum surrounded by carefully chosen undecided voters from the New York area.
Questions covered a variety of topics, from energy policy to the Sept. 11 terror attacks against the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
While both candidates have argued in this kind of setting before, the stakes and the men involved, turned the unique format into an unknown factor before the debate. Both candidates attempted whenever possible to redirect crowd questions so they could create opportunities to blast their rival. Debate moderator Candy Crowley often attempted to refocus each man and, on a handful of occasions, correct basic errors in their presentation of facts.
“Candy Crowley did an outstanding job,” Pond said.
She says that the debate moderator should be given more respect and authority during these events and that Crowley’s activity in the debate effectively promoted this role.
Online opinion polls conducted by national news agencies after the event generally showed a consensus for a draw or a slight Obama victory. Students of Pittsburg State showed agreement with this measure.
“Overall, I have to call it a draw,” said Jonathan Fox, senior in accounting. “Obama is a great speaker, and it was very easy for him to convey his message. Romney did a good job of staying on point, of refining his experience.”
The margin of victory for Obama was also reflected.
“President Obama offered comprehensive solutions to the problems that are facing us today,” said Jaci Gilchrist, freshman in political science and justice studies. “Romney failed to point out specifics about his plan to correct the economic and social problems of this country.”
Before the meeting in Hempstead, the Obama campaign called on Joe Biden to help turn the tide of criticism and derision the president received after he was widely panned for his performance in the first debate on Oct. 3.
“I can say for sure that Biden did better than Obama,” said Jeremy Chapman, senior in computer science. “The next two debates are now the deciding factors.”
Opposite Biden was Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who has been a highly controversial figure since Romney selected him to be his running mate in August. This was Ryan’s first centralized national platform.
“Ryan made a few points, but overall Biden had the strongest case,” said Austin Stapleton, freshman in music education. “Though he was unclear a few times, and Ryan jumped on that, Ryan seemed very pompous and angry throughout the whole debate.”
As has become custom, the focus was less on the debate itself and more about what was said after the fact. National opinion polls reflected a virtually even tie, split along partisan lines, for the vice presidential contest.
The next debate will be devoted to foreign policy and will take place on Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.