News / USA

Obama, Romney Gear Up for Debates

Debate StakesDebate Stakes
x
Debate Stakes
Debate Stakes
Alex Villarreal
‪U.S. President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are preparing for the next critical phase of the 2012 election season - the presidential debates.  The two candidates hold the first of their three debates on Wednesday in Denver, the capital of the western state of Colorado.  Topics are set to include the economy, health care and the role of government.  Many say it is Romney who has the most to prove. ‬

With just a few days to go before the first debate, President Obama focused his weekly address Saturday on one of its key topics: the economy.

The president criticized Congress, especially Republicans, for not acting on a plan that he says would save homeowners thousands of dollars. "The truth is, it’s going to take a while for our housing market to fully recover.  But it’s going to take a lot more time - and cause a lot more hurt - if Congress keeps standing in the way," he said.

President Obama has himself faced criticism for not doing enough to address the housing crisis.  But he said in his address that the housing market is "healing."

And that is not the only positive economic news.

Revised figures from the Labor Department show the country has more people employed now than when President Obama took office in January 2009.

The new numbers counter Romney’s claim that the nation has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs under Obama.

The loss of the campaign weapon comes after an already tough couple of weeks for the Republican candidate after a video surfaced showing him telling wealthy supporters that 47 percent of voters consider themselves "victims" entitled to government support.

Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for former President George W. Bush's 2004 campaign, said on ABC News that the debates are critical for Romney.

"The race right now is a five- or six-point national decline on his part.  He's losing in all the electoral states.  He does not want to get in a situation where this goes past him, and he can't catch up.  He's got to do it on October 3, and he has to do well.  And I think actually the race will close.  He'll show up and do reasonably well, but he has to do that," he said.

Public opinion polls indicate President Obama has a significant lead over the former Massachusetts governor in many of the so-called swing states expected to decide the November 6 election.

Looking ahead to the debates, Romney acknowledged their importance. "It'll be a good chance for the president and for me to have a conversation with the American people about our respective views," he said.

While expressing their views is the point, Dowd says the effect of a candidate's debate performance on voters is more about style than substance.

"If you take a look at the history of debates, it's not really about policy specifics, it's not really about facts. People have heard a lot about that.  They've seen it, they've read it.  They've got it all.  It's more about what are the cues that indicate the kind of person or personality or how they're [the candidates are] going to be, their mannerisms," he said.

Foreign policy issues are being reserved for the second and final debates, scheduled for October 16 and October 22.  But the candidates are already in competition on the subject, with both holding separate phone discussions with the Israeli prime minister Friday on preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More