The following few posts will be Politics students’ take on the first presidential debate. The first post is by Casey Daggett, who is a sophomore this year. This post is about her thoughts leading up to the debate, and what she thought each candidate needed to accomplish.
While certainly all presidential debates impact the outcome of an election and set the tone of the final days of the election cycle, Wednesday’s opening debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney was of exceptional significance. Though interest in foreign policy has grown significantly in past weeks following the attack on the American embassy in Libya and the unrest throughout the Middle East, domestic policy remains a crucial aspect of each candidate’s platforms. Specifically, voters are yearning for a specific plan to address the stagnant economy and steady levels of unemployment as well as a definitive view on healthcare. Expectations were high for both Obama and Romney leading in to Wednesday as each candidate sought to distinguish their campaigns and provide solutions to an increasingly frustrated public.
Criticized by many for running a campaign centered around criticism of Obama’s policies and, in turn, failing to propose clear solutions of his own, the debate was a critical opportunity for Romney to not only define his ideas, but to distinguish their differences from the President’s own. Furthermore, Romney’s off the cuff remarks on the campaign trail, including such as the infamous statement that ‘corporations are people, too’, have given fuel to his detractors, but a debate allowed him a somewhat controlled environment in which to clarify his prior claims.
In contrast, President Obama has been frequently praised for his eloquence in public speaking, yet needed the debate to add spark to his campaign. Accused of disappointing the American public by failing to live up to the undeniably lofty ambitions of the last election cycle, Obama was given the opportunity to address such, but also to describe his goals and plans if voted in for a second term. For both candidates, the stakes were high leading up to Wednesday’s debates as each spent time preparing and readying themselves for a face-off in front of millions of undecided voters.