Romney clearly dominated the discussion. Obama lacked bite, probably because he already has four years of presidency behind him, during which he knew that he failed.
Romney was much more concrete, and his superior experience both in business and as state governor of Massachusetts to Obama, whose only experience has been as an inept president, one of the worst in American history, showed.
Obama had four minutes more in the debate than he should have had, but then we know that he is the darling of the media who let him off the hook and let him get away with anything.
When all is said and done, Obama has already had a go at the job and failed at it miserably. At least Romney hasn't tried yet. He should be given the benefit of the doubt.
If I were undecided (and American) that's how I would go about it. It would be the most scientific, empirical, evidence-based method to decide coeteris paribus.
But all the rest is not equal. Romney's arguments are much stronger, more solid and well-founded.
The objection made to Romney by Obama that he didn't give,offer specific enough details of his plans, whether in healthcare, tax or financial regulations, echoed by some commentators, is not a negative point at all. This just highlights the difference between Democrats and Republicans: the latter don't want the President to have a too much detailed plan in advance to impose on the nation, whether people want it or not and whether Congress accepts it or not. Like Obamacare for instance.
The President for them must show flexibility, adaptability, the willingness to compromise with political opponents and above all a clear sense of the limits of government.
This first debate focused largely on the economy, an area of which - welfare - is the territory of what the media called Romney’s gaffe, wherewas in fact it was his telling the truth.
Leftist parties - and I'm talking generally here, not just about the US - are often repeatedly voted in power even after failure because of a form of bribe.
There have been cases of political candidates, of all colours, who would pay individuals to vote for them. I think that parties of the Left can do exactly the same although on a much bigger scale: many people vote for them in exchange for benefits, tax credits and all the rest of the enormous welfare machine that was among the causes of many countries' economic collapse.
Melanie Phillips puts it this way: “The general point that too much of America is being sucked into state dependency – and that by increasing their number Obama is effectively gerrymandering the election -- remains a powerful one.”
When people talk about joblessness as if it were an inexorable fate, I find it risible. It’s not all that difficult, even for the not too intelligent, to buy and resell stuff from a market stall, for instance.
People who made a fortune like the British magnate Alan Sugar often started with nothing. Sugar is keen to recount how he began when he was still at school, buying from warehouse and selling to his schoolmates. That doesn’t take a genius or a rich family, does it?
In certain cities, like London (and I suspect there will be cities like that in America), it’s almost impossible not to find a job. It may not be a high-flying post, but there is always some business looking for help.
Similarly, when I hear politicians say that “people are hurting”, I find that an exaggeration. People were hurting during the Second World War, in past ages when they were going hungry, and now in some parts of the Third World.
The reality is that many people in the West had got used to spending more than they had and could afford, and now that they can’t do that anymore they “are hurting”. I suppose you can call it that if you are a shopaholic or if you are addicted to certain material goods, but then it’s a case of withdrawal symptoms so hurting does you good.
The fixation with “keeping up with the Joneses” is something that many will have to learn to discard. But it wasn’t a healthy attitude anyway. There is no harm or “hurt” in that. People just have to learn to live within their means, that’s all. And that includes, first and foremost, the government.