[UPDATED] President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney went toe to toe Wednesday night. WHYY’s Chris Satullo and blogger Dick Polman are among the writers who tweeted the proceedings.
[UPDATED] For the first time this election season, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney went toe to toe tonight. Each candidate spent the previous week talking up his opponent out of one side of his mouth while planning a sucker punch with the other side.
Though Obama currently leads in the polls, the stakes are high for both candidates, less than five weeks from the Nov. 6 election. Observers say Romney needed to deliver tonight if he wants to turn his campaign around. How do you think he did?
Follow the commentary of observers and local writers and thinkers, incuding WHYY’s resident pundit Chris Satullo.
Presidential debate, Oct. 3, University of Denver
Storified by NewsWorks · Wed, Oct 03 2012 20:23:57
What’s over/under on how many minutes until Mitt Romney mentions Libya attack? In his place, I’d work it into the first 15m. #debateschrissatullo1st Q is on jobs. All our fact-checks on jobs #debate http://ow.ly/ecK79PolitiFactObama says Romney wants to "double down" on policies that caused recession. What caused the recession? http://ow.ly/ecKel #debateFact CheckRomney ticks off five-point plan for jobs with good verve. As Jim Fallows said, Mitt has some game when it comes to debates. #denverdebatechrissatulloRomney wields Biden’s "middle-class buried" gaffe against Obama. Electric rates up, food prices up, hlth care costs up. #DenverDebateMichelle MalkinI like Debate Romney way better than Platform Romney.davidfrumRomney on a roll, inventing a new tax policy as he goes; Obama with that sourpuss look, head down. Not a good start for him. #denverdebatechrissatulloRomney’s tax plan wd cut taxes for hedge fund guys, raise taxes for orthodontists. Glad he’s jettisoning it at this debate.davidfrumObama: We do best when the middle class is doing well. #debatesPOLITICO"High-income Americans" = those earning over $100,000, says M. Feldstein. Tax cut for Porsche customers; tax increase for Porsche salesmen.davidfrumWe graded Obama on his education promises. 45% are Promise Kept so far. http://ow.ly/ecKkq #DenverDebatePolitiFactReputable study found Romney’s tax plan can’t reduce overall rates AND raise same revenues. Our check: http://ow.ly/ecpR4 #debatePolitiFactRomney says he will pay for $5T tax cut without raising deficit or raising taxes on middle class. Experts say that’s not possible….Fact CheckWe looked at whether five studies back up Romney’s tax plan. Mostly False. Our review: http://ow.ly/ecKPd #debatePolitiFactObama "And now five weeks before the election he’s saying his big bold idea is nevermind."POLITICOEmily LItella (of SNL legend) to the rescue for POTUS. His quote of ‘Never mind’ to describe Romney’s new tax plan his first good moment.chrissatulloObama says he’d increase tax rate on high-income earners to no more than they paid under Clinton. Not so. http://ow.ly/ecKTG #debateFact CheckHow the left and right are already spinning the #DenverDebate on Twitter: http://slate.me/QRmGPzSlateHas Obama cut taxes for small business 18 times? Pretty close last time we checked. Mostly True. http://ow.ly/ecqR4 #debatePolitiFactObama’s problem: Romney’s tax plan is bad news not for middle class, but for lower upper class. And Obama uninterested in making that pt.davidfrumObama: Math and common sense and history shows us this is not a recipe for job growth. #debatesPOLITICORomney says 6 studies prove his revenue-neutral tax plan can work as he plans. But who wrote those "studies"? http://ow.ly/ecL8y #debateFact CheckObama finally recalls that the Clinton/W. comparison on jobs/deficits is the most potent argument that he has to wield.chrissatulloRomney clearer, more direct and easier to understand. He’s dominating so farJonathan FreedlandRT @williamjdobson: Not sure who is winning, but Romney is beating Jim Lehrer.SlateQ2 from Lehrer: What are the differences between the two of you on how you go about tacking the deficit problem in this country? #debatesPOLITICORomney proposes the ‘China test’ on all government spending; would congressional salaries pass that test?chrissatulloRomney said Obama doubled deficits. But Obama inherited $1.2T deficit when he took office in FY2009, which ended with $1.4T deficit. #debateFact CheckRomney arrived with a plan for this debate. Obama didn’t.davidfrum"The president should have grabbed that"-@MittRomney on Simpson-Bowles. #debatesRachel Van DongenSimpson-Bowles is actually a lot more liberal than you think: http://slate.me/QRoGrb #DenverDebateSlateDebt has increased just over $5T since ’09, Mostly True. See the numbers: http://ow.ly/ecLxV #debatePolitiFactObama does a good job reciting the spending cuts he’s made (really), but Romney eviscerates him for not cutting the deficit. Theater>facts.chrissatullo"You’ve been president four years" is a strong line from Romney. Direct address always works in debates: inherently dramaticJonathan FreedlandObama’s plan would reduce deficits by $4 trillion? Half True. http://ow.ly/ecLEo #debatePolitiFactMakes me fear for democracy. RT @BCAppelbaum: It is incredibly sad that Donald Trump has now been name-checked by both candidates. #debateKai RyssdalRomney sings an aria in praise of the Laffer curve (tax cuts pay for themselves), which has never worked as touted. But it sounded good.chrissatulloOptics matter. Romney is winning debate because he’s assertive and Obama is on defense. Has O said a single sentence viewers will remember?Dick PolmanRT @fmanjoo: Hey look. Obama woke up. He realized he’s in a presidential debate!SlateRomney is puncturing the presidential bubble…tomfitzgeraldRomney: With alt energy tax breaks, Obama picks only losers. Throws out a lot of firm names most voters don’t know, but he’s on a roll.chrissatulloPlease, Mr. President, passion! Don’t treat the debate like a law school class. I’m afraid you’re going to discuss torts.Nicholas KristofQ3: Do you see a major difference between the two of you on Social Security. #debatesPOLITICO"Mr President, would you like to attack Gov Romney on Social Security?" "No thank you."davidfrumWhy did O just say he and R share view of social security? He could whack him for picking Ryan who wanted to abolish social securityJonathan FreedlandRT @mattyglesias: Lehrer, Romney, and Obama share a very impoverished conception of what a "debate on the economy" consists of.SlateGood grief. Lehrer tees up BO to sketch his differences w/ Mitt on Soc Security – and he whiffs. Talks like a think tank wonk at a seminar.Dick PolmanFINALLY, Obama is tying Mitt to Ryan’s voucher plan for Medicare. 45 minutes in, and maybe the president is waking up.Dick PolmanObama says Romney-Ryan Medicare plan a “voucher” plan. Not exactly. http://ow.ly/ecMAl #debateFact CheckYo Mitt Romney, Sesame Street is brought to you today by the letters F & U! #debates #SupportBigBirdBig BirdSo far the clip that will run on cable news? Romney promising to kill Big BirdJonathan FreedlandIn case you thought differently, #PBS received .00014% of the 2010 federal budget. http://ow.ly/ecN2V #debate HT @marketplaceapmMichael RussellRomney’s Medicare plan could cost seniors $6,400 more? Half True. http://ow.ly/ecpvq #debatePolitiFactCan’t believe Romney went back to his fact-checked canard about $716B in supposed Medicare cuts. Obama should hit this out of park.chrissatulloAmazing that BO has ceded the Medicare dialogue to Mitt. And Mitt running wild on repeating his lie about BO "cutting" $716b from Medicare.Dick PolmanRomney said Obama “cut" Medicare by $716B but cuts in the future growth of spending prolong life of Medicare. http://ow.ly/ecMJ8 #debateFact CheckObama re: Ryan Medicare plan: ‘If you’re 54 or 55, you might want to listen.’ One of his few good lines so far.chrissatulloDo you suppose anyone tuned in tonight to get actual information? #debateKai RyssdalRomney said Obama “cut" Medicare by $716B but cuts in the future growth of spending prolong life of Medicare. http://ow.ly/ecMJ8 #debateFact CheckQ4 from Lehrer: What is your view about the level of federal regulation on the economy? #debatesPOLITICORomney tacks to middle, away from GOP debate record, saying kind things about regulation, on top of his ‘new’ tax plan.chrissatulloObama: Is there anyone out there who thinks we have too much oversight and regulation of Wall Street? If so, Romney is your candidate.POLITICOFrom 2010, our explainer on Dodd-Frank. http://ow.ly/ecN4W #debatePolitiFactObama said he’d cut health care premiums for typical family by $2,500. Promise Broken on the #Obameter: http://ow.ly/ecIOr #debatePolitiFactLehrer moves the debate onto health carePOLITICODid Gawker advise Romney on debate riffs?’Listen, Mitt, people love lists. Just love them. Answer every question with a list."chrissatulloRomney walked into haymaker; Obama is totally ready for the question on ‘why health reform, not jobs’ as main move in ’09?’ Clintonesque.chrissatulloRomney defending Romneycare on national stage. Denying tax cuts for rich. Wonder what they are thinking at WSJ tonight?davidfrumYES – Romney informs viewers of unelected Obamacare IPAB panel. #DenverDebateMichelle MalkinWould an unelected board tell seniors what treatments Medicare will cover? Get the facts: http://ow.ly/ecNTQ #debateFact CheckObama should have arrived ready to itemize benefits ordinary families get from Obamacare. The rebate went by in 2 seconds.davidfrumObama says you will get a rebate from insurance cos. But most rebates will go to employers, not individuals. http://ow.ly/ecO3a #debateFact CheckRomney: Answer is not to have federal government take over health care. Private market, individual responsibility always work best. #debatesPOLITICOObamacare is a government takeover of health care? That was the 2010 Lie of the Year. http://ow.ly/ecO9V #debatePolitiFactNext Q: Is there a fundamental difference between how you two view the mission of the federal government?POLITICOObama: Says first role is to keep the people safe, something he’s worked on every single day in office.POLITICOMaybe debate prep in Vegas was bad idea; Obama’s energy level seems like man who spent all last night at blackjack tables.chrissatulloLehrer tees up BO to talk about role of gvt – and he regurgitates speech chunks. He should’ve tied Mitt to unpopular GOP’s small gvt credo.Dick Polman…And instead of making Mitt defend GOP gvt credo, he lets Mitt chant empty rhetoric – and for good measure, take new whacks at O economy.Dick PolmanRomney: Role of government is to promote and protect the principles of the Constitution. #debatesPOLITICORomney said half of graduates can’t find job. Mostly True: can’t find job OR can’t find one requiring degree. http://ow.ly/ecOI9 #debatePolitiFactRomney said 23 million "out of work." It’s half that. 23M includes parttimers and those who stopped looking. http://ow.ly/ecOU3 #debateFact CheckObama promised to ‘bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass an agenda.’ Promise Broken on our Obameter http://ow.ly/ecIxL #debatePolitiFactDebate rhetoric vs. reality – Romney may be scoring points pretending that Obama ever had any chance to get a GOP vote for health reform.chrissatulloNope. Romney does not have a lengthy description of his plan and preexisting conditions are not covered.Ezra KleinNice Freudian slip: Romney calls hospitals "businesses"Jonathan FreedlandJust a reminder: Conservative thinkers came up with idea of health insurance "individual mandate" as a point of individual responsibility.chrissatulloObama: Budgets matter because they reflect choices. True, but he doesn’t convey fire in his belly about choices. His inner Klingon showingchrissatulloAstonishing that Obama did not mention the 47%Jonathan FreedlandDebate Romney is my kind of Republican. I wonder what Romney we’ll get tomorrow.davidfrumRT @chrissatullo: 99% of liberal twitterverse astonished that O. never mentioned Mitt’s ’47 percent’ gaffe once. Not once. #denverdebateNewsWorksRT @amandamarcotte: It sounds like Romney has decided the only way he can win is to pretend like he’s a Democrat. http://sulia.com/c/all-politics-causes/f/8e6bc0c9-cfe4-4626-8743-10fcfdad9871/?source=twitterSlateRT @fmanjoo: Romney won in the first 30 mins. Last hour was more a draw.SlateObama closing statement: I’m not a perfect man, and I wouldn’t be a perfect President. But I will fight every day for the American people.POLITICOConceivable that some voters will view O’s lethargy as bipartisan moderation. But media meme will be that he lost this roundJonathan FreedlandRT @Heminator: That wasn’t a debate so much as Mitt Romney just took Obama for a cross country drive strapped to the roof of his car.davidfrumRomney closing statement: if Obama reelected there will be middle class squeeze, chronic unemployment and vows to create 12m new jobs.POLITICOPresident Obama responsible for pending defense cuts? Half True http://ow.ly/ecqtS #debatePolitiFact