By Erin Drushel

“Happy Anniversary, Honey!  Just let me get this pesky presidential debate out of the way first, and then we can head out to dinner…” 

I’m thinking being President is a pretty good excuse for missing your wedding anniversary. 

And with that I say, Happy 20th Anniversary Barack and Michelle!

[avatar user=”ErinDrushel” size=”thumbnail” align=”left”]Erin Drushel[/avatar]Last night was the first opportunity for President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney to go head-to-head on domestic policy issues.  This was the first in a series of three presidential debates leading up to the 2012 election.

After weeks and months of preparation…

Romney’s Performance:

Romney was crisp, energetic and aggressive in his responses and presented himself with poise throughout most of the debate.  Presentation was key for him in this first debate and he certainly succeeded in presenting himself well.  He was sparse on some of the details and at times he demonstrated a short fuse but did manage to keep it in check.

Obama’s Performance:

The President was off last night.  He lacked his usual dynamism.  He also seemed to have some difficulties pulling his thoughts together.  He did stay generally mellow and calm which is important for a presidential figure, but it doesn’t spark the fires needed to seal the deal for those undecided voters come Election Day.   For the next debate, the President needs to do a bit more work.

What I liked:

I liked that the debate wasn’t all “spin-doctor” quips.  This debate was an important opportunity for the candidates to demonstrate their respective differences and offer clear choices to the electorate.  I think both candidates were able to achieve these goals even if not done charismatically or in detail.

I liked that the candidates were generally respectful toward one another and were able to joke a bit in some of the tense moments.

What I didn’t like:

Poor moderation.  Jim Lehrer showed poor control throughout the debate.  I’m certain it’s not easy pulling on the reins of two very strong-willed individuals, but it must be dealt with in the upcoming debates.  Whoever the moderator is, he/she needs to keep the candidates on course, on time, and on topic.

I also didn’t like Romney’s quote: “Look, I got five boys.  I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I will believe it.”  I feel this was a particularly condescending response and was concerned it was setting the tone for the rest of the debate.  Luckily, condescension was kept to minimum.

Favourite quote of the night:

“And congratulations to you, Mr. President, on your anniversary. I’m sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine… here with me.” – Mitt Romney

As for the facts:

Bring on the fact-checkers!

The debate as a whole:

Overall, I think this was a successful debate for both candidates in terms of substance.  However, in terms of presentation as a television show, Romney clearly dominated the event.

See it for Yourself!

If you missed yesterday’s debate, you can view it in its entirety through the following YouTube post from the New York Times – the audio improves 2 minutes in (we suggest you fast forward to that point).  You may also click here for other highlights.

Other Upcoming Debates

Next up the Vice Presidential Debate: October 11

Remaining Presidential Debates: October 16 & 22

Check your local listings for details.

– Erin Drushel