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Barackness monster vs. the stormin’ Mormon

Matt Thompson, Staff Reporter - October 10, 2012

President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney debated over domestic policy issues last Wednesday at the University of Denver in the first presidential debate of this election season.

Courtesies between the two were quickly extinguished after a long friendly handshake marked the beginning of a heated discussion on.

Topics included the role of government, the economy, healthcare and Big Bird.

Having won the coin flip, Obama spoke first on the topic of the economy. Within the first couple of sentences, a different president was revealed than the American public might be used to.

“Obama was more passive,” said Todd Schaefer, political science department chair. He “looked down, didn’t talk forcefully or get rattled.”

Romney delivered big in Denver, according to the polls, showing that he could indeed stand toe to toe with Obama. Going into the debate, polls showed that Romney trailed Obama in several swing states, which emphasized the need for a strong performance.

“The way in which you beat Republicans is you either call them stupid or you paint them into a corner as radicals,” said Matthew Manweller, a political science professor. “I think that Romney weaved and bobbed to avoid both of those punches.”

As the battle raged on between the two politicians, facts and numbers were thrown left and right, leaving fact checkers scrambling to validate some of the claims. Both Romney and Obama were guilty of stretching the truth from time to time.

“I’m not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut,” Romney said. “What I’ve said is I won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit.”

Romney claims that his tax plan, which includes a 20 percent tax rate reduction and an extension of Bush-era tax cuts, would be revenue neutral.

Based on the specifics of his plan released so far it is not possible to make up that tax revenue, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Obama was not innocent of misconstruing the facts either. When Romney made the claim that he would repeal “Obamacare,” Obama responded that the results would be devastating.

“By repealing Obamacare, you’re looking at 50 million people losing health insurance, at a time when it is vitally important” Obama said during the debate.

That number is actually based on an approximate calculation 10 years in the future and includes those who currently do not have any insurance, according to Politifact, a fact-checking organization.

Obama’s claim also incorporates numbers that are based on changes to Medicaid that are not in the health care law, according to Politifact.

It’s important to note that no matter who “wins” the debates, a presidential election is rarely determined by a debate victory.

“It’s generally agreed that John Kerry ‘won’ his three debates with President Bush in 2004,” Schaefer said. “But he didn’t become president.”

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