Who Won the Presidential Debate? Patch Live Chat Recap

Local Democrats and Republicans across Massachusetts discussed Wednesday night's debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney in a live chat on Patch.

In the first presidential debate last night, Democrats and Republicans from across the state who joined Patch in a live chat, said President Barack Obama came out flat while Gov. Mitt Romney had some effective arguments.

"Overall, tie goes to Obama," said Democrat Alex Buck. "Romney had a couple good lines, but nothing hugely productive. He looked jittery and possibly his most memorable line was about Big Bird."

Reader, and Governor's Council candidate, Tom Sheff added late in the debate, "No defining moment so far, that's for sure."

As the debate opened on the economy, Romney took an early upper hand, according to the Democrats and Republicans who joined the chat as panelists.

"President seemed nervous, and missed the mark on a direct answer to the jobs question," Democrat Mike Festa said.

Buck argued Romney's use of the term "'economy tax' misses the key component of being easy to understand."

As Obama spoke about middle class tax cuts under his administration, Republicans pushed back by pointing to the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare. 

"Obama says he cut taxes, but Obamacare added all kinds of taxes," Republican Patty Locke.

Rosemary Smedile referenced the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the individual mandate included in the Affordable Care Act: "Obamacare is a tax according to the Supreme Court, Mr. President."

Romney's line on the deficit—"I think it's a moral issue"—drew applause from a GOP crowd and shouts of "Yay Mitt!" at a debate viewing party in Newton, according to Jamaica Plain Patch. 

Buck agreed that calling the deficit a moral issue "was a good line," but added, "Should *not* have mentioned Big Bird.

As the candidates debated the economy, Lizbeth DeSelm, a liberal-libertarian, argued, "Our economy is consumer-based. It is a vicious cycle. We need more jobs, to buy more things, to increase more revenue and manufacturing, which will then create more jobs. It take money to make money doesn't it?"

Jumping off an Obama line about Romney not endorsing a plan exchanging $10 in spending cuts for $1 in revenue, Patch ran an unscientific poll asking panelists and readers participating in the live chat, "Would you trade $10 worth of cuts for $1 worth of additional taxes/revenue?" Sixty-three precent said "yes," 23 percent said "no" and 14 percent said "unsure."

As the candidates moved onto entitlements, DeSelm said, "I'd like to point out that a huge number of people on government support of some sort or another are those who served our country in the Armed Services. We have to keep that in mind when we talk about removing 'entitlements.'"

Obama started to gain some momentum according to Democrats when speaking about entitlements. Festa said, "Obama's balanced approach is compelling ... classroom example too."

Democrat Shawn Fitzgibbons questioned the wisdom of Obama using the term "entitlements."

"'Entitlements'—things that you are OWED because you BOUGHT them," he said. "Bad term. A Republican one. You put money in to receive a benefit later—you own the benefit. It's not a handout."

Festa also questioned Obama not drawing a clearer distinction between his approach and Romney's approach to Social Security.

"Obama: security differences with Romney not big ... does that help Romney?" he asked, adding that Obama's family story was "too long."

As the candidates debated Medicare, DeSelm said that the $716 billion from the program that Obama described as "savings" in Obamacare and Romney described as a "cut" is the "exact same as in the (Republican vice president candidate Paul) Ryan budget."

Festa called Romney's Medicare argument "weak" and liked Obama embracing the term "Obamacare."

"Romney: Medicare choices for younger is good competition ... Obama retort on admin costs excellent," Festa said.

Newton Patch reported that Democrats at the viewing party in Newton were "shushing Romney as he jumps in," quoting, "He's so rude!" In the live chat, Democrat Jeremy J. Comeau used the same characterization.

"Romney is quite rude!" he said. "There is a moderator for a reason. If you want more time spend your own money on ads!"

However, Festa gave Romney points for his comments on big banks and his argument about Obamacare.

"Romney says repeal ... can't afford it. Overall effective attack," he said.

Fitzgibbons took issue with Romney's characterization of Obamacare being pushed through Congress without any bipartisan support, saying, "It's Obama's fault that no Republicans voted for HCR?"

Democrat Etta Goodstein added, "Romney's characterization of this state's health care bill that passed under his watch? He is not mentioning the real reasons that it happened ... the free care pool was driving costs of delivery too high to be absorbed."

In another quick hit unscientific poll of panelists and readers in the live chat, Patch asked, "What do you think about Obamacare?" Twenty-seven percent voted "keep in place as-is;" 46 percent voted "keep most in place, but still needs work;" 23 percent voted "Repeal the whole thing and replace from scratch;" and 4 percent voted "Repeal and don't replace it with anything." 

Asked to give letter grades to the candidates' closing arguments, Obama received mostly B's and a few C's, while Romney received similar grades.

Festa said, "Romney's closing was more disciplined, but not great either," while Buck added about Romney's closing argument, which he gave a B+, "Content strong, finally looking at camera, cohesive, but he just can't get inspirational."

At least one reader was convinced by the debate. Jonathan Craven wrote, "My vote has been swayed, I will now vote for Romney."

Joe Kane October 04, 2012 at 06:40 PM
No, Bibi is an ally. Not the commander-in-chief. He is asking Obama to act like a Commander-in-Chief of the greatest military might and economic force in the world. He wants Obama to lean heavily on Iran and the rest of those that will not stop the midget madman from developing a nuclear bomb that has only one stated intention - TO WIPE ISRAEL OFF THE FACE OF THE MAP!! What part of this don't you understand? Didn't you ever take a Political Science course in college? Or haven't you covered that in Middle School yet??!! Stop your ranting, You're coming across as a schoolyard bully that can't take criticism! Grow up!
Gerald C W Heng Sr. October 04, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Its rather obvious that Mitt Romney GOP Hopeful with Polls Numbers down has to rebound "Do Or Die " in this first Bull-Fight Lock Horns with the incumbent President who came to the Debate with facts of his 3+ years Presidency as a Defendant.In most Debates of this nature the Prosecuting Side of the Challenger almost always have the upper-hand as they don't have facts and disappointments of the Presidency in tow.Its almost impossible to demand amnesia of such matters from the President. Defensive postures are not attractive as a debating style. President Obama has a great deal of success such as ObamaCare Legislation that I feel and think in 2nd Debate after the Veep's debate should see him swinging and gore Mitt Romney Empty Don Juan Wind-Bags of policies without full specifics and concepts ! We are not in a Bain Capital Negotiation Session where the CEO will almost always say anything to get that leveraged buy-out leaving working employees in the purchased Inc. without jobs and or benefits even though they have families and mortgages as obligations of Manhood/Motherhood !Mitt Romney last night was exactly what he is a Good Leveraged Buy-Out Artist and must do substantive damage to the object of his purchase i.e. The Presidency CEO. A Big Difference is Uncle Sam's Government is not for Sale ! Gerald Heng Sr. Metrowest Boston,MA.
Jim O'Connor October 04, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Joe, First of all, stop using caps, it is yelling. Second, don't you think Israel already has its own nuclear weapons and could wipe out Iran, and most of the world on its own. Lastly, we have allowed enough chicken-hawk, warmongering Republicans to get us mixed up in conflicts, in many cases for their personal benefit, and will be paying those bills for generations in ways that we may not want to even conceive. Enough.
Joescarp October 04, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Jim, next to Great Britain, Israel is our strongest ally and a true democracy. I would hate to have you as an ally.
Joe Kane October 04, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I'm sorry Jim, are you referring to those good ol' Republicans like Truman (Korea), Kennedy, Johnson (Vietnam), and Clinton (Croatia/Slovenia). I guess the rest of us should have double-checked their party affiliation when looking to condemn, because they seem to fall right off of your list!! Those Middle School educations aren't what they used to be!!! And my use of CAPS is only applied when trying to penetrate concrete! Thanks for asking!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »