Last night’s Presidential debate had Governor Mitt Romney coming out of the gate strong. Pundits on both sides of the political aisle mostly agree that Romney dominated the debate and energized his camp while President Obama’s delivery largely fell flat.
Romney took President Obama to task for an economy that has failed to recover, moving millions onto government assistance, burdening the American public with Obamacare, and driving the National Debt to catastrophic levels.
Obama declared that a Romney presidency would return the country to failed policies that would boost the privileged and burden the working class. He slammed Romney for wanting to turn Medicare into a “voucher” system, repeal the federal health care overhaul and allegedly push a tax cut for top earners.
Both candidates did their best to appeal to the middle-class voters who likely will decide the election five weeks from now. While Romney accused Obama of pushing “trickle-down government,” Obama accused Romney of wanting to “double down on the top-down policies” that led to the financial crisis.
Obama argued that the issue to consider is not “where we’ve been” but “where we’re going.”
“We’ve begun to fight our way back,” Obama said. He accused Romney of wanting to roll back regulations and implement tax cuts skewed toward the wealthy and reverse those gains.
But Romney, citing the millions who have gone on food stamps and hit the unemployment lines in the last four years, argued that “the status quo is not going to cut it.”
“We know that the path we’re taking is not working. It’s time for a new path,” Romney said.
He said Obama’s push to raise taxes on top earners amounts to a tax on the very small businesses needed for a robust economic recovery.
“You raise taxes and you kill jobs,” Romney said. “I don’t want to kill jobs in this environment.”
While Romney used the poor economy and staggering national debt to argue Obama does not deserve a second term the President made the case that he’s still cleaning up the mess from the prior administration and needs four more years to finish the job.
Romney had the most to gain out of Tuesday’s performance. Though competitive with Obama in national polls, he’s been slipping in key battlegrounds. The debate was a chance for him to close that gap and energize his base.