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Romney Wins First Debate Hands Down (Complete Video)


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Mitt Romney came prepared to last night’s debate. Not only in terms of the facts and figures of his own programs and agenda, but in terms of how to deal with the many different ways in which his opponent, President Barack Obama, would try to distort them.

Patiently, with a good-sport’s smile, without a hint of anger, Romney sought time and again to correct those distortions. Each time the president made the claim that Romney’s plans would cost $5 trillion plus the $2 trillion born by his proposed military budget expansion – the Republican insisted on restating that those accusations are unfounded and that none of his tax cut proposals would be made at the expense of the deficit.

Romney was so good at those corrections for the record, that by the time Obama repeated the same charge for the third time he sounded tired, haggard, even uninspired, compared with his aggressive but always good natured rival.

I’ve never seen Romney be this good.

Whether because he really did spend the last couple of months cramming for this test, or because in the clash between his and Obama’s personalities Romney’s polite but very fluent and decisive simply overmatched Obama’s contemplative style – as the moments of this debate drew on, it was becoming clear that the evening belonged to Romney, completely.

Indeed, the CNN flash polls showed 67 percent believe Romney won the debate, while just 25 percent said Obama won the Denver debate. And a CBS poll of undecided voters showed Romney leading Obama by 46 to 22 percent on the question of who won the debate, with 32 percent saying they were tied.

Watching the debate on CNN (I stayed up till three in the morning here, in Netanya, so you won’t have to), it seemed that every aspect of last night’s duel was going Romney’s way. Take the clock, for instance: as the night wore on, President Obama was clocking more than 4 minutes of talking over Governor Romney, and that time was accumulating, slowly but surely, in small increments, from the opening minute. As much as the moderator, PBS’s Jim Lehrer, tried to keep things even, Obama was getting away with more and more time bits than his opponent.

At one point, about a third of the way into the match, Obama went on talking uninterrupted for better than two minutes—an eternity in these debates—and the 78-year-old Lehrer was unable to control him, telling him afterward, “you’re way over the two minutes,” raising an apologetic smile from the president.

Yet instead of complaining, as some have done in previous presidential debates, Romney let it slide. He didn’t demand equal time, he simply pretended he didn’t mind these fouls, which, strangely enough, made him look more presidential than the president. And because of this tiny show of magnanimity, the clocks CNN was using to mark each candidate’s time use became a finger that pointed at the cheating debater.

If this was a plan—then the governor’s campaign team deserves the bonuses he just gave them. I tend to think it was a rare view into the two men’s personalities, in which Romney came across more stylish and composed.

That – the composure in face of Mr. Cool who, back in 2008 reduced Senator McCain to looking like your angry elderly neighbor who wouldn’t return the baseball that fell into his roses – that was worth staying up to watch.

On the substance, which I believe has only a minor importance in these clashes, Romney seemed a little more on top of his own facts and figures. Some of his arguments were hard to accept – for instance, that private insurance companies with a bigger overhead cost than that of a government agency, plus the requirement to show a profit, would be able to offer cheaper health insurance.

But while Obama scored obvious points in the eyes of this registered Democrat, he was stabbed unexpectedly by Romney when Obama boasted that his administration has made $716 billion in cuts of waste in the Medicare program. Romney claimed those were not well thought out cuts in specific areas of waste but an across the board slashing of the Medicare budget, with the trimmed funds used to finance Obamacare.

Romney charged that the money was simply the result of the government reducing its payments to hospitals and insurance companies, which are already causing some hospitals to refuse treatment to Medicare patients/

Romney’s most stylish moment, in my opinion, came when he addressed the issue of his proposed cuts in what he considers frivolous government spending. He made no secret last night of killing PBS funding, as he told the debate moderator Lehrer whose name is practically synonymous with the PBS brand:

“I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for,” Romney said.

I believe the Republican nominee has already done a lot last night to change the lackluster course of his campaign. If he can repeat and make Obama appear dry, over-rehearsed and inauthentic—yes, yes, the great political crooner actually looked out of touch last night—if Romney can do it one more time, he could win this thing.

The next debate, on Thursday, October 11, will be between the vice presidential candidates. I expect it to turn out more or less even. the next time the heavy weights spar will be on Tuesday, October 16, in a town hall meeting format, debating foreign and domestic policy. Obama won it decisively in 2008. I believe Romney can beat him, but watch out – Obama will be better prepared this time.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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6 Responses to “Romney Wins First Debate Hands Down (Complete Video)”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    Romney walked back most of his controversial economic positions last night. What he said at the debate is inconsistent with his published positions and campaign web site. He has been campaigning as a right winger and last night he spoke as a moderate Republican.

    And he is a hypocrite on the $716 billion. He publicly supported his running mate Paul Ryan when those very same "cuts" were included in Ryan's budget proposal. I guess Romney was for the cuts before he was against them?

  2. Perry Levin says:

    Fact checking after the debate has shown that Romney is either stupid or was lying on purpose. He stated he does not know of any IRS regulation that pays companies to move jobs overseas. As the founder and head of Bain Capital he used this (and is actually doing it to an American company as I write this) to make money. Anyone who believes what Romney says and votes for him is a fool. There is no way to judge, from everything he has said since announcing his candidacy, what he will do if he is elected president.

  3. Anonymous says:

    President Romney! The dawn of this long dark night is near at hand!

  4. You can count on him for what he says…unlike Obama who has NO EXPERIENCE IN ANYTHING, except corruption, voter fraud and spending taxpayers money foolishly. Every other word leaving his mouth is a lie. That is the truth. Do you want socialized everything??? Look at the socialized countries now Spain, Greece,etc….do they look that good to you? They are all falling apart at the seams. Obama has had four years to fix our economy…has he??? WE NEED JOBS HERE AND OBAMA DOESN'T WANT THAT. HE WANTS TO KEEP AS MANY ON WELFARE AND GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS AS HE CAN THEN THAT MAKES HIM IN CONTROL OF OUR LIVES. Anyone voting for 4 more years of the same with Obama has your head in the sand because he is not for our country. Look! He took the National Day of Prayer away and gave the Muslims the day instead. He was against the Old government of Egypt and supported the Muslim Brotherhood who has taken over. Same thing happened in Libya. Sound like a guy you want running our country???? Start studying the facts…and know that MainStream Media is "in bed" with Obama and the communist and Muslim Brotherhood. Think about how these countries function…You want that. I DON'T!

  5. Rc Fowler says:

    Those who voted for Obama in 2008–were fools and traitors–those who vote for him again–are the same!

    Yes Mitt Romney is not the best–but he is not Barack Obama–and this is a good thing!

  6. Aldo Rocco says:

    NO FOR MUSLIMS SHARIA AND CALIFAT GOVERNMENT! IT IS THE TIME TO VOTE ROMNEY AT LEAST HE IS CHRISTLIM! RIGHT! THINK ABOUT IT MUSLIM OR CHRISTLIM? YOU CHOOSE… JESUS IS ON HIS WAY , PROPHECY TO COME HOLY BIBLE DANIEL 7 : 25 MATTHEW 24…..

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