The first presidential debate is approaching quickly. On Oct. 3, President Obama and Mitt Romney will face off for the first time together in front of a crowd of voters. There should be many issues to talk about, including past, present and future accomplishments. What should really be in the minds of voters are personal statements that the candidates made, since they can tell about a person’s values. Of course being politicians, what they say should not always be taken at face value.
While Romney is strong on economics, being a successful businessman, his 47% comment made him less agreeable with the public lately. The comment is credible, however, since he actually did not lie. CBS news fact-checked that 47% of people do not pay income taxes; 46.4 percent of people did not pay income taxes according to the Tax Policy Center. However, Romney did not mention the 28.3% of people among the 47% that pay payroll taxes, myself included. Although he did not exaggerate the percentages in his comments, he may have made a mistake saying that everyone who does not pay income taxes will vote for Obama. Elderly people, who pay neither payroll nor income taxes, favor Romney to Obama 53% to 38%, according to a recent CBS news/New York Times poll.
While comments like Romney’s 47% remark caused an uproar in the news and social media, what Obama does not say should inflict an incomparable uproar. He does not take responsibility for the conditions in the economy, although he allowed more government intervention in it. Although it is true that former President Bush can be partially blamed for the recession, Obama should show true authority and admit to not being able to improve the situation. In fact, a more negative energy is being implemented in the United States. According to Businessweek, the number of people participating in the workforce is the lowest since September, 1981 at 63.5%. While 96,000 jobs were added in August, 368,000 people left the workforce. The problem is, the Obama administration completely reverses any pressure for people to look for work; people are losing motivation to work to their potential.
The polls seem to be in Obama’s favor currently, however. I believe the reasons for this include the comparison of Romney as compared President Bush versus President Obama’s comparability to former President Clinton. First of all, Bush endorsed Romney, not likened him to himself. Second, Clinton’s comparison of President Obama to himself seemed insincere, considering his wife ran against the president four years ago.
Obama may struggle in the debates to uphold these comparisons. The comparisons of Clinton to Obama and Romney to Bush are farfetched. Each candidate is unique and brings fresh ideas to the White House. With Obama, however, the ideas will not be fresh; they will likely continue his first term policies. Voters should pay extra attention between the party candidates and their presidential predecessors.
First, there is the attention to statements made by candidates in both parties. Obama is careful what to say to the media, but his vice president, Joe Biden is not. Biden will be debating Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan. Both will have chances to improve their popularity when they debate on Oct. 11.
As for the presidential debates, I believe the candidates will attack each other on the economy most. Romney’s analysis of Obama will entail his first term, while Obama’s analysis of Romney will consist of his business and term as governor of Massachusetts. Obama is known as a great speaker and will certainly be prepared for Romney’s attacks. While it is not hard to assume Obama will most likely continue his current policies, no assumptions can be made about what Romney would do as president besides what he mentions in his campaign. As a new presidential hopeful, Romney has a chance to prove he has the oratory skills and values he needs to outpace President Obama and secure the job.
The debates allow the candidates to confront what they said and did not say. Hopefully voters will choose to watch the debates so they are more informed of the issues. After all, it is easier to tell if someone is lying by reading their body language rather than reading proposals on campaign websites.
By Emily Leayman