President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney faced off Wednesday night in the first of three presidential debates to take place this month. The event was moderated by PBS's Jim Lehrer, who appeared to have very little control and largely let the candidates control the discussion.
Before the first debate, both campaigns attempted to dial down the likelihood their candidate's chances. Both Obama and Romney acknowledged the other man's debating skills in a traditional attempt to lower expectations. And then immediately following the debate, both sides vigorously spun the event in favor of their candidate.
Neither Obama nor Romney delivered a particularly hard-hitting zinger or one-liner, something each campaign had been hoping for. The Romney campaign has declared the former Massachusetts governor the winner, however, saying he was able to clearly communicate with the American people. Romney emphasized the importance of small businesses in the economy and a diminished role for the government. The Obama campaign likewise declared their candidate the winner, and said the president forced Romney to play defense on important topics like tax cuts and Medicare. Obama also jabbed Romney for failing to present specifics on how he will cut taxes and the deficit at the same time.
Polls immediately following the debate tended to favor Romney, as did most pundits.
Who won the Denver debate? Here is the Debate Club's take:
Lara Brown Assistant Professor at Villanova University
Jamal Simmons Principal at The Raben Group
Brandon Rottinghaus Associate Professor at the University of Houston