Romney Seeks to Build on Debate Performance

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is applauded by sons Josh, center, and Tagg, left, as he speaks at a Colorado Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting in Denver, October 4, 2012.Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is applauded by sons Josh, center, and Tagg, left, as he speaks at a Colorado Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting in Denver, October 4, 2012.
    x
    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is applauded by sons Josh, center, and Tagg, left, as he speaks at a Colorado Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting in Denver, October 4, 2012.
    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is applauded by sons Josh, center, and Tagg, left, as he speaks at a Colorado Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting in Denver, October 4, 2012.
    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is looking to build political momentum after his strong debate performance Wednesday against the man he would like to replace in November, President Barack Obama.

    It was clear from the start of the debate that Romney wanted to take control and keep the focus squarely on the president's economic record.

    “Under the president’s policies, middle income Americans have been buried. They are just being crushed,” said Romney.

    Romney appeared relaxed and comfortable on stage. He was aggressive in criticizing the Democratic president’s record but stayed away from personal attacks.

    Analysts generally gave Obama poor marks on his debate performance. Many said the president appeared on the defensive and that his responses to the Romney attacks lacked energy and passion.

    President Barack Obama smiles at moderator Jim Lehrer during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Oct. 3, 2012.President Barack Obama smiles at moderator Jim Lehrer during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Oct. 3, 2012.
    x
    President Barack Obama smiles at moderator Jim Lehrer during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Oct. 3, 2012.
    President Barack Obama smiles at moderator Jim Lehrer during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Oct. 3, 2012.
    Obama did display more energy at a rally in Colorado the day after the debate and signaled a tougher approach to Romney in the remaining two debates.

    “So you see the man on stage last night, he does not want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney’s decisions and what he’s been saying for the last year, and that’s because he knows full well that we don’t want what he’s been selling for the past year,” declared Obama.

    The president’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, told reporters in a conference call that the Obama team will be making some adjustments in future debates.

    “You have to strike a balance. You can’t allow someone to stand there and basically manhandle the truth about their own record and ideas and about yours,” he said.

    The difference in demeanor between the two men was noticeable, said political analyst Charlie Cook.

    “Obama seemed to be like a [sports] team sitting on a lead. I wouldn’t have said smug, just somebody who didn’t seem terribly hungry for it,” he said.

    Cook said it remains to be seen, though, whether Romney’s debate performance will sway undecided voters in swing states where both campaigns are battling for support.

    “And so the question is, just how much does this move [voters] in Ohio, in Virginia, in Florida, in Colorado and in these swing states,” he said.

    Republican pollster Glen Bolger said Romney also took steps to improve his personal image with voters, an area where Obama has long held an advantage in public opinion polls.

    “How much did Mitt Romney help his image? How much did he raise his favorables? And I think that Romney came across as someone who was more genuine than they had realized and somebody who could step into the Oval Office and have no problem doing that,” said Bolger.

    At the very least, Romney’s performance could reassure Republicans, who were worried that the president was starting to build an irreversible lead in some of the key states where the election will be decided.

    Presidential debates are always significant events, though they do not always prove to be decisive. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry was seen by many as the winner of his debates with President George W. Bush but still went on to defeat.

    John Kennedy in 1960 and Ronald Reagan in 1980 both benefited from strong debate performances in successful campaigns for the White House.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

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    by: jon from: colorado
    October 04, 2012 5:45 PM
    I had a conversation with a conservative this morning ... the jest of the conversation from his point of view ... Romney sounded like Bush II... a big spending republican. The only thing worse then a big spending liberal is a big spending republican. More on education more on defense... huge taxes that he can't pay for.... Bush II taught us that a republican congress can't say no to a big spending republican....... why did Romney change who he was last night over what he has been saying during the campaign??

    Let see..

    Yes, Romney won the energy in the debate.

    Romney did not make any in roads into the women gap ... women were not talked about
    Romney did not make any in roads on immigration gap ... immigration was not talked about
    Romney did not make any in roads into the senior health care issue ... Obama like Bush II is effectively using AARP to get senior votes

    Romney now has a problem on the debt.. he sounded like a big spending Bush person ... 5 trillion tax cut that is 5 time more than Bush with saying how he is going to pay for it... spending more on education when everyone though the was going to cut entitlements..

    Romney did the one thing he could not do with the thoughtful middle voters who want a reason to trust him... he changed who he was with his tax policy and STILL is not offering specifics...

    Yes, Romney won the energy debate and polls will tighten, but more votes in the middle of the country are not more votes in the swing states....
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    October 05, 2012 5:20 AM
    Who paid you to do this? You couldn't even express your opinion but you were busy ranting like a paid agent just to deride Romney. What really did Obama say that sounded good for the women? Because he said he was lucky 20yrs ago to marry Michelle does not mean he has any good plans for women. Or do you refer to his same-sex marriage as the big support for women? Which is his change that we have seen. Another big change Obama has brought is the BIG deficits - I hear he's asking for more credit line otherwise the government will run aground.

    Please tell us something else. If you have not already cast your vote, go quietly and cast it now for Obama, but leave those who have seen through Obama's fallacy to vote for Romney - the candidate of their choice. Did you not see how sincerely Romney presented his points and also how sincerely he countered Obama who became flapping and jittery all through the debate. Please give credit to whom it is due, and give him honor that he deserves. God bless America.

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