Candidates Face Off at First Debate
Obama and Romney discuss jobs, taxes, and the economy
This article was written on location by Scholastic News Kid Reporter Jenna Winocur.
Voters got a chance for an up close look at the two major-party candidates for President last night at the first of three presidential debates.
The back-and-forth discussion between President Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, gave students at the University of Denver a lot to think about. For many, this will be their first chance to vote in a general election for President.
“Most of us don’t have a presidential election the first time we get to vote,” said University of Denver student Mason Seymore. “It’s a lot to put on an 18-year-old. So it’s going to take a lot of thought and consideration before I decide.”
At a debate, candidates try to sway undecided voters to their side by presenting their ideas to the public and discussing those ideas with the other candidate. Questions at last night’s debate were broad and focused on domestic policy—issues that are specifically about what is going on in the United States rather than what is happening in other countries. Most of the conversation centered on the economy, jobs, and taxes.
Candidates were allowed two minutes in each of six segments to answer a question. They then used the additional 11 minutes in each segment to highlight their differences on the issue being debated.
One of the key issues for voters this election is the economy. So candidates quoted many numbers and listed lots of specifics in their policy proposals.
On the subject of taxes, Obama said Romney was proposing a $5 trillion tax cut that the government could not afford. “He’s been asked over 100 times how he would pay for it,” Obama said.
But Romney said he wouldn’t cut taxes that much and brought up the President’s policy on Medicare and the new health-care law that critics call “Obamacare.”
“I like that term,” Obama said, pointing out that his plan is much like one Romney passed in Massachusetts when he was Governor.
Romney said his plan in Massachusetts worked because it was designed to meet the needs of a specific state. He opposes Obama’s plan because “the federal government should not be telling people” how to handle their health care.
So who won the first debate of the season? Students outside the debate hall addressed that question after the candidates gave their closing statements.
“Romney had some really good points,” said Katrine Aucmeiusi, a 19-year-old international business major. “He was good at countering Obama’s arguments.”
“I don’t think there was a winner or a loser,” said engineering major Irene Wilson, 19. “Both got good points across. They did a really good job explaining the topics.”
The next presidential debate will be held on October 16, in Hempstead, New York. But before Obama and Romney meet again, their running mates will get a chance to debate. The vice-presidential debate will be held on October 11, in Danville, Kentucky. The final presidential debate will be held on October 22 in Boca Raton, Florida.
Kid Reporters will be covering those debates as well, so stay tuned to the Scholastic News Election 2012 website for their stories!