Winner: Barack Obama
Scores: Obama 80 | Romney 78
Judge: Fenja Berglund
Barack Obama won this close debate by engaging more effectively with his opponent’s assertions while using facts to defend his own.
Obama and Mitt Romney were both impressive in style, with both finding the all important balance between being folksy and statesmanlike, and both finding useful opportunities to highlight their own values, strengths and experience.
Overall there was a reasonable amount of solid material presented on both sides, with only a couple of unfortunate detours into battles of the anecdote. There was also a decent level of responsive interaction from both speakers, probably helped by the format and moderation. Obama drew just ahead of Romney in the detail of the matter presented and in fact-based dissection of issues. An illustrative example of this was in the discussion of health care models. Once Obama had effectively analysed and highlighted real faults in the voucher system, it was inadequate for Romney to respond by simply restating his position, however consistently and eloquently. He needed, and failed, to respond to the specific problems raised by Obama with the model in question. This was the main difference between two good performances and the reason I have awarded the debate to Obama.