Pres­i­dent Obama did his best on de­bate

Glenside News - - OPINION - Alex Fisher

Guest Col­umn

Ask­ing who won a de­bate is just ask­ing for an ex­tremely bi­ased an­swer. Of course peo­ple are go­ing to say that the can­di­date they sup­port won.

The de­bate on Oct. 3 was a great first pres­i­den­tial de­bate. The can­di­dates both pre­sented their points well while try­ing to at­tack the other at the same time. Most peo­ple say that Mitt Rom­ney won the de­bate, but I be­lieve that there is no win­ner and no loser. There isn’t a point sys­tem or any­thing of that na­ture that has a true win­ner. This isn’t a football game, but the me­dia makes it sound like Rom­ney won by five touch­downs. Al­though Mitt Rom­ney had a very good de­bate, I be­lieve that Pres­i­dent Obama had just as strong of a de­bate.

It is ei­ther very hard or very easy for the in­cum­bent pres­i­dent to de­bate de­pend­ing on the strength of his record as pres­i­dent be­hind him. In this case, there is no way that Obama could have fixed the coun­try in only four years, so he is run­ning on only the changes he has made since tak­ing of­fice. The econ­omy has gone from re­ally bad to just bad so Obama has to make this so-called “bad” econ­omy sound good show­ing it has im­proved in four years.

Un­em­ploy­ment was hit­ting a record high when Obama took of­fice so he passed the Re­cov­ery Act to get Amer­i­cans back on their feet. Ac­cord­ing to U.S. News, “The non­par­ti­san Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice es­ti­mates that with­out the Re­cov­ery Act, un­em­ploy­ment would have av­er­aged roughly 10.7 per­cent in 2010, in­stead of 9.6 per­cent.” Whereas Rom­ney can blame the pres­i­dent for the econ­omy be­ing “bad” and not talk about any im­prove­ments.

Some of these im­prove­ments in­clude the Amer­i­cans Job Act. Ac­cord­ing to many economists in­clud­ing Mark wandi, the Amer­i­cans Job Act pro­posed by Pres­i­dent Obama in Septem­ber 2011, cre­ated an­other 2 mil­lion jobs. It be­comes very hard for the in­cum­bent to now de­bate on this. All Rom­ney has to do is talk about the pres­i­dent’s record, leav­ing out what changes Obama has made, and the pres­i­dent can only talk about Rom­ney’s record as gover­nor, which isn’t as sig­nif­i­cant. All the vot­ers know ex­actly what Obama’s record is run­ning on and what he stands for be­cause of ev­ery­thing he has done in the past four years.

On the con­trary, no one has any idea what Mitt Rom­ney stands for be­sides what we hear on com­mer­cials — and who knows if any of that is true or false. The de­bate be­comes tough for Obama be­cause he can ques­tion Rom­ney about things he may have said dur­ing his cam­paign, but Rom­ney has been known to change his po­si­tion many times. Dur­ing the de­bate Pres­i­dent Obama kept men­tion­ing the A5 tril­lion in tax cuts, which was a great point to at­tack Rom­ney on, and then Rom­ney would re­spond ev­ery time with, that’s not what I’m propos­ing.

Dur­ing Rom­ney’s cam­paign he has talked about that A5 tril­lion, but now he just changes it when he is ques­tioned about it on a de­bate, so how does any­one know what he is run­ning on?

Busi­ness­week has re­ported, “Rom­ney is­sued a more ag­gres­sive tax­cut­ting plan in March that would cut in­di­vid­ual in­come tax rates an ad­di­tional 20 per­cent. It in­volved, as Obama cor­rectly said, ap­prox­i­mately A5 tril­lion in re­duced tax re­ceipts over 10 years.” Who knows any­more what Rom­ney is go­ing to do other than the nar­ra­tive that has been writ­ten for him. Run­ning against the in­cum­bent be­comes easy to de­bate if you play it right, and Mitt Rom­ney did that ex­actly. He at­tacked the pres­i­dent on his record and dodged bullets by chang­ing what he has said in the past.

Many peo­ple said af­ter the de­bate that Rom­ney was strong and straight for­ward look­ing Obama in the eyes and Obama didn’t look present. I be­lieve those are all very un­fair com­ments and not fully truth­ful when you look at the en­tire pic­ture.

What can Obama at­tack Rom­ney for? Bain cap­i­tal or his tax re­ports? All of that is im­por­tant to a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date but not things to bring up in a de­bate. They are ir­rel­e­vant dur­ing a de­bate, un­for­tu­nately.

Pres­i­dent Obama had to pro­tect his im­age, de­fend what he stands for, pro­mote his plans and talk about what pos­i­tive changes he has made in the past four years. I be­lieve he did ev­ery sin­gle one of those things, which makes it a suc­cess­ful de­bate for him. He isn’t re­spon­si­ble for the poor eco­nomic state the coun­try was in when he came into of­fice. How­ever, he has to talk about what he has done to im­prove the econ­omy and he did just that, but still Rom­ney can at­tack him on that be­cause there is al­ways more that the peo­ple are look­ing for from our pres­i­dent.

Im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the de­bate many were im­pressed with Rom­ney’s per­for­mance and thought he was strong and did a great job at­tack­ing the pres­i­dent’s record. I thought that at first also. How­ever, once I took some time to re­flect on the de­bate in its en­tirety I re­al­ized that Obama ac­tu­ally had a very strong de­bate. If we look at the things each in­di­vid­ual can­di­date did, Obama had many very strong mo­ments. They didn’t seem as strong though be­cause Mitt Rom­ney de­nied his A5 tril­lion tax cut plan and has a new plan which “wasn’t math­e­mat­i­cally pos­si­ble,” ac­cord­ing to the CNN fact checker. New Repub­lic’s Jonathan Cohn com­mented that Rom­ney’s plans were “so vague that the state­ments could mean ab­so­lutely noth­ing.”

It be­comes very hard to say Obama won this de­bate when he is de­bat­ing against a can­di­date that pro­poses plans that are ac­tu­ally not pos­si­ble.

Pres­i­dent Obama has al­ways been a great de­bater and speaker, noth­ing has changed. It is very hard to de­bate though when you are work­ing based on your record. The econ­omy still isn’t pos­i­tive, it’s just not as neg­a­tive as it was when he first took of­fice. Obama can only talk about what he has done to make im­prove­ments and plans to continue if elected.

De­bat­ing as the in­cum­bent is very dif­fi­cult, but I be­lieve Obama did what he had to in the first de­bate.

Alex Fisher is a stu­dent at Abing­ton Friends School in Jenk­in­town.

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