Takeaways From the First Presidential Debate

Some notable moments from the first presidential debate Wednesday night between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, just 34 days before the Nov. 6 election.

President Obama's Closing Statement___

FIGHTING OVER THE FACTS

The debate brought a constant tug-and-pull over the facts: Obama's version versus Romney's.

Romney accused Obama of mischaracterizing several parts of his agenda, from taxes to Wall Street reform. Romney told the president that as the father of five sons, "I'm used to people saying something that's not always true but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I'll believe it."

At another point, Romney said, "Mr. President, you're entitled to your own house and your own airplane, but not your own facts."

Obama repeatedly accused Romney of pushing for changes to Medicare that would turn it into a voucher-like program.

To those in the audience, Obama said: "If you're 54 or 55, you might want to listen."

___

MODERATOR'S ROLE

PBS newsman Jim Lehrer got mixed reviews for his role as the moderator.

The two candidates strayed from the time limits throughout the debate and Lehrer struggled to enforce the set 15-minute segments covering the economy, health care and other topics. The result was a steady back-and-forth between Obama and Romney, with the candidates often talking over themselves.

Many viewers took to Twitter, panning Lehrer's handling of the debate.

Romney even said he'd cut funding for Lehrer's network. "I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS ... I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to - I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for."

Obama was quick to offer praise to Lehrer, though, saying near the end of the debate that he did a "great job."

___

WONKINESS

If you were a wonk, this was the debate for you. Obama and Romney appeared far more at ease comparing policy ratings than with trading zingers.

"The National Federation of Independent Businesses said your plan will kill 700,000 jobs," Romney said at one point, accusing Obama of pushing a plan that would hurt small businesses.

In another, Romney cited two groups - the Congressional Budget Office and McKinsey and Co. - as a reason why Obama's health care law was hurting the country.

But Obama had his own insider comeback, pointing to the AARP. "And this is not only my opinion. AARP thinks that," Obama said. "AARP has said that your plan would weaken Medicare substantially."

___

LEFT UNSAID

For a campaign where a new attack line has emerged nearly every week, exactly zero of this campaign's string of catch-phrases made it into the debate.

Obama was silent on "47 percent," the reference to Romney's now-famous critique of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes.

Likewise, Romney didn't touch Vice President Joe Biden's comment from Tuesday, that the middle class had been "buried" the past four years. However, Romney did use the term "buried" in his own comments, and used another, "crushed," three times.

Nowhere in Obama's comments was Romney's private equity firm, Bain Capital, which the Democrat demonizes as a job-killing corporate predator, nor the fact that Romney has personal assets in Swiss bank accounts.

To complete the parade of hits not made, Romney failed to mention this summer favorite, Obama's "you didn't build it" remark referring to small businesses.

___

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

The start of the debate offered a light moment: Obama offered anniversary wishes to his wife, first lady Michelle Obama.

The president said 20 years ago, he "became the luckiest man on earth" when they got married.

Calling the first lady "sweetie," Obama said from the debate podium that a year from now, "we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people."

Romney offered his congratulations with a touch of humor: "I'm sure it's the most romantic place you can imagine, here with me."

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855 Comments

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Somey

imalibnow2

evan is soooo funny, posting under all his aliases..........too bad they are all so dumb.
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You're the epitome of dumb

October 04 2012 at 10:44 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Somey

t_trevor

A dumbest 1%er incapable of Google search publishes his autobiography on an AOL comment board!
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Could that be you??????????????

October 04 2012 at 10:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Somey's comment
t_trevor1

The contents of "The Life and Times of someonedumb":

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

October 06 2012 at 6:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Somey

joeproblemchild

bush left office in 2009, bozo

Just like he got into office in 2001....so when you post your BS about him deregulating wall st in 2000...It's untrue....

are you capable of knowing or telling the truth?
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"bush left office in 2009, bozo"

The economical debacle that Bush left behind is still with us, BOZO

October 04 2012 at 9:52 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
tropicsilk

Did you see Chris Mathews? Even he said Obama was taken to the cleaners. No more tingle.

October 04 2012 at 2:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
shennesey218

What a scam. Obama pretending that he has to work on his wedding aniversity. The debate could have been scheduled for another day but Osama wanted to grandstand and appear more like most normal Americans.

October 04 2012 at 1:34 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
David Ferraez

Obama has had his chance..........he is divisive and dangerous to America. America needs to restructure many things( health care, social security, enviramental issues, military issues, etc. ) and yes this will be painful. If one household, business, city, state or country overspends and has to restructure then all will feel the pain...........and should feel the pain equally. To assume Obama can fix our country is upsurd..........we should hope and pray that Mitt. R. can..........because we do know that Obama cannot. So don't be "
conned" twice...........once is enough..........df

October 04 2012 at 12:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ragtopdaz

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime"
Now on the Democratic way of thinking is you give the man a fish plus teach others how to fish and take part of their catch to feed this man plus his family.
And you can continue to feed them for a life time..
Plus tax them on their catch so as to give these Democratic voters free health care and a roof over their heads. And not let us forget about the cell phones and free A/C that goes along with that free house..

October 04 2012 at 12:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ragtopdaz's comment
tj1108

Where I come from its give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

October 04 2012 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sheiwinst

Here is my take on this whole thing, you can not fix what has been broken for over the past eight or more years over a night or even four years. Romney is a very good actor and will do and say anything for the vote of the people to win his Oscar! Dont be fooled by the man riding in on a white horse to save our nation, especially one who's beliefs come from a man made up Mormon book of rules.

October 04 2012 at 12:41 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sheiwinst's comment
sheiwinst

This is from one of the forty seven percent...........that dont dont care or want your vote either.

October 04 2012 at 12:45 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
derealest

The best thing about the "debate" was seeing Chris Matthews blowing a gasket after the "debate" I would rather call it an unveiling. The average American has yet to understand Obama for what he is. He is the head of the most corrupt administration ever. Lying comes easier to him than any politician I have ever seen. I still have yet to see his explanition of why we have no boots on the ground after his Ambassador and security were asissinated. He was really quick on Trevon Martin though. That one worked for his divisive class warfare. This one is just another "bump in the road" to him. Shameful. No More Years.

October 04 2012 at 12:24 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
groucho3710

As usual Romney maintained (over and over again, like a teenage boy trying to get Dad to believe what he was saying, to borrow a joke) that his plan to balance the budget wouldn't really hurt anybody. But nothing I've read indicates that it's possible to trim 5 billion (even over a decade), even if you start by eliminating tax breaks for the rich and for huge companies, without eventually getting down to popular deductions that millions of average Americans use and like, like the mortgage interest deduction. Most responsible economists believe you can't really cut your way out of debt. There has to be some revenue enhancement of some type or another, so why not start by NOT subsidizing companies that close plants here and rebuild overseas, or companies that are making billions in profits and could probably survive without subsidies? My point is that you don't START by penalizing some woman working two minimum wage jobs, you start with people who won't essentially miss it. I don't think Romney knows anyone like that, so naturally it doesn't occur to him to consider them. .They're all just slackers anyway.

October 04 2012 at 12:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply