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October 3, 2012 7:37 pm

ALGEMEINER LIVE BLOG: University of Denver Presidential Debate

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Obama vs. Romney. Photo: wiki commons.

With little over four weeks left until the 2012 presidential election, the two candidates for President of the United States will meet tonight for the 1st of 3 nationally televised debates. The Algemeiner live blog on this page, will feature frequent updates and commentary on the candidates’ performances and positions. The debate is scheduled to take place at 9PM EST. A live stream of the debate can we viewed here.

10:34 – Shorter Mitt Romney: I am going to do everything opposite of President Obama.

10:32 – Romney is either sick or having trouble in Denver’s thin atmosphere.

10:31 – Obama’s closing statement synopsis: Everyone doing their fair share.

10:28 – Obama: Governor Romney has not displayed that willingness to say no during the course of his campaign [to extreme partisans].

10:25 – Romney hitting the nail on the head. Both men and women are favorable to what he’s saying according to CNN metrics. Ratio of jobs created/money spent on Green Job initiatives is atrocious.

10:23 – Romney: You put 90 billion dollars into green jobs. Most of which failed.

10:22 – Romney looks really nervous and fidgety. Not even close to the stoic, composed presidential candidate we saw during the primaries.

10:19 – Romney wants federal funds to follow the child and let the parent decide where to send their student if the student is disabled or underprivileged.

10:16 – Romney: role of government is to promote and protect the principles of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Romney is playing for the Tea Party vote with all this quoting. Good rote training.

10:11 – Romney: “My experience as a governor is that when I come in with a piece of legislation and say ‘it’s my way or the highway,’ I won’t get much done.” True, Democratic majority in MA Senate, House and local government prevented Romney from being as good of a governor as he might have been. Blocked him at every turn.

10:08 – Romney: “Free people and free enterprise is better at bringing down the cost than the government ever be.”

10:07 – Obama: There’s no indication that leaving healthcare to the states will allow people with pre-existing conditions to stay on their plan.

10:06 – Obama: Over the last 2 years, healthcare premiums have gone up but slower than in previous years.

10:01 – Obama: We’ve seen this model work really well… in Massachusetts. We saw Gov. Romney set up the same system and it hasn’t cost jobs.

10:00 – Obama: We did work on this [healthcare] along with working on jobs.

9:56 – According to CNN’s bottom of the screen banner measuring approval/disapproval based on gender, men prefer deregulation while women like regulations.

9:55 – Obama: Our economic collapse is due to irresponsible actions by the financial sector. “We stepped in and put in some of the strongest regulations since the great depression.” “We also made sure that all the help we gave those banks were paid back every penny, with interest.”

9:52 – Romney: “Regulation is essential, you cant have an economy work without regulation. At the same time regulation can become excessive.” Most Republicans would agree, those who hate Romney usually also hate regulations. Good play at moderate vote by the GOP candidate.

9:49 – Romney believes in lowering healthcare costs by opening insurance companies up to more competition. Obama disagrees saying that private company’s motivation for profit will make Romney’s plans impossible.

9:42 – Social Security and entitlements on the table. Romney stresses that he will make no changes to current seniors. Obama pins Romney on voucher program, claiming that it will leave some seniors without sufficient care.

9:34 – Obama insists that Romney’s refusal to raise taxes will force important programs to be cut. Romney brings up Solyndra and $90 billion in green energy cuts from Obama.

9:28 – Romney calls for trimming government programs that are not essential, mentioning Obamacare and PBS, he also pledges to send programs to the state where they would be more efficiently run on a state level. President Obama accuses Romney of being inflexible on revenue.

9:23 – First round comes to a close. Obama keeps pushing claim over Romney tax plan that Romney denies. “I am not in favor of a 5 trillion dollar tax cut,” Romney keeps stressing. Obama attaching his policies with Clinton successes. Next question is on the federal debt.

9:11 – Romney deflecting Obama attacks over tax cuts for the rich, outlines details on his economic policies focusing on energy Independence, mentions offshore drilling and keystone pipeline. “There will be no tax cut that ads to the deficit,” Romney affirms.

9:06 – First question focuses on how candidates would create more jobs. Obama seeks to connect Romney’s economic policies to Bush policies, Romney objects and strives to clarify. “I will restore the vitality that gets America working again,” says Romney. Obama is pushing education as a key to economic growth.

8:58Crowd patiently awaits arrival of candidates. While tonight’s debate is supposed to focus on domestic policy, Romney may be looking for an opportunity to bring up foreign policy. Jim Lehrer of PBS is moderating.

7:28 – INTRODUCTION: It is the night every engaged voter and politico around the country has been waiting for, to answer the question of whether GOP candidate Mitt Romney, is able to hold his own against President Barack Obama’s impressive abilities on the stump.

Undoubtedly, after some brutal weeks of bad press, Romney finds himself the underdog, trailing Obama by 3.1 percent in the average poll. Romney also trails Obama in all recent polls of battleground states essential for victory.

Some say this difference is insignificant. Indeed most of the numbers are within the margin of error, and Obama’s incumbent name recognition most likely contributes to his marginal lead. But if name recognition is a problem now, it could be an even bigger problem come election day, where some voters show up due to zeitgeist, pressure from friends or family, or are pushed by an activist group. One would be surprised how many people know next to nothing about the candidates they vote for on election day and this usually works towards the incumbent’s benefit.

But not all is lost for Romney. Lukewarm job growth reports are putting a damper on Obama supporters’ momentum. Where 4 year ago, a canvassing Obama supporter would knock on a door and often be welcomed, they are now more likely to be told to get lost, or completely ignored. For many 2008 Obama voters, the candidate no longer carries the sheen of change they hoped for.

Although Romney and his Vice Presidential pick, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan, have been campaigning feverishly, Romney is not the president. One can even say that Romney is unemployed, and being unemployed, Romney appears to have taken plenty of time off the campaign trail in order to prepare for these debates with his favorite sparing partner, Ohio governor Rob Portman.

In tonight’s debate, the burden lies with Romney to prove to supporters that he has honed his political tools. Though he must appeal to independents, he can no longer be the well oiled weather-vane, according to Gov. Jon Huntsman, that he was during the Republican primary. His campaign hopefully did not take for granted that Romney won the primary not because he won the love of Republicans, but because the more conservative wing of the party presented a slew of inadequate not-Romney candidates.

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