Winner: Mitt Romney
Scores: Obama 73 | Romney 78
Judge: Wayne Jocic
Barack Obama lost this debate. At its best, his manner was calm and conversational, and a brief smile and a chuckle about timing were appealing. Yet his predominant human quality was weariness.
This weariness left Obama struggling to defend his presidency. On economic matters, he relied too little on his achievements and was too vague in discussing future policy. While he seemed better prepared for debate about health care, the minor advantage of his more compassionate tone was outweighed by his woolly approach to the earlier economic focus of the debate.
Mitt Romney was the more presidential candidate. He was less polite and more assertive, but his manner was not so much rude as energetic. This energy stood stark against Obama’s lethargy.
Romney’s systematic approach to questions, notably his five-point plan to create jobs, was effective. He also relied better on details, even in areas on which Obama claimed he had been vague, such as his plans for the Dodd-Frank legislation. Romney held his ground on the social aspects of the debate, was much more persuasive on economic policy, and gave a better closing address. His performance, while not astounding, was clearly better than Obama’s.