Who Won the Presidential Debate?: Mitt Romney Defeats Obama, Big Bird, Jim Lehrer, and Bobby V


Last night, the nation focused on the University of Denver, scene of the first presidential debate of the 2012 election. Below is an extensive live blog of yesterday's debate and events leading up to it:

Both candidates know the topics: domestic policy and the economy. President Obama will be attempting to appeal to those living in the Denver/Boulder region, an area that has recently seen a massive influx in young professionals and students, primarily pursuing careers in the outdoor and clean energy industries. Romney, on the other hand, will be surely trying to bypass 47% of the Denver crowd in order to reach those living in Colorado Springs, unpopulated regions of the state, and the billionaires (not millionaires) living in on the ski slopes of Aspen. 

Obama will be compeled to address the unemployment rate in Colorado (which is slightly higher than the national average), which he will combat by pointing out economic reconstruction taking place, thus defending the adminstration's federal spending plan. Romney has fairly smooth sailing on the economy, as he will most likely bypass any issue of failure to Obama. One thing he can’t bypass is the fact he's against the DREAM Act and 1 in 5 Coloradans are hispanic. There's no doubt that immigration and the economy are closely linked.

Most of the upper class atop Aspen and students at the University of Denver have already made up their minds; it’s the independents in Colorado’s suburban areas that both Obama and Romney will be vying for. Obama won Colorado by 9% in 2008. Romney’s going to need all the help he can get (and obviously his aide’s aren’t helping). 

PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.


12:00AM: Debate will be between incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney from 9:00PM - 10:30 EST. This is the first of three presidential debates and will be focusing on domestic policy and in paticular, the economy.

12:00AM: Debate will be aired by multiple television stations such as ABC, CNN, PBS, etc. starting at 9:00PM EST.

12:01 AM: ABC News will be streaming the debate live on YouTube for the first time ever. Other live streams include : CBS on UStream; CNN; Fox News; WSJ; Politico; Univision (español); and of course, C-SPAN.

12:10 AM: Facebook is also strengthening their political inititaive by hosting live events that start in the afternoon today. Guests include Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and Denvor Mayor Michael B. Hancock.  Facebook users will be able to ask questions in real time.

12:13 AM: **Official Twitter hashtags for the debate are #debates and #Denverdebate**

12:15 AM: Twitter plans to set up an Event page organized around the #debates hashtag, which will carry forward through the month.

12:19 AM: Tumblr is working with The Guaridan to host a "Live-GIFing" of the debate on "Tumbling the Election"-- their election blog. That should be interesting.

12:25 AM: Details: The moderator, PBS's Jim Lehrer (news anchor for PBS NewsHour). Lehrer will pick six topics, each of which will be discussed in a 15-minute segment. Candidates will have two minutes to answer a question on the topic and then "Q&A" will be followed by a discussion lasting the remainder of the segment.

12:27 AM: Topics will be alloted time as follows: Economy (45 minutes); Health Care (15 minutes); Role of Government (15); Governing (15).

12:31 AM: A week ago, Colorado was buzzing about Obama. Now, it's Romney (via Facebook-CNN Election Insights):

12:32 AM: "Romney Style"

12:34 AM: On that note, I'm tired and will be heading to bed soon. 

Please tune in live tomorrow to University of Maine WMEB-FM radio station, "The Rundown", from 7:30AM - 8:30AM, where Justin Lynch and I will be discussing the debate.

6:21 AM: It's debate day! Please tune in to "The Rundown" today from 7:30AM- 8:30AM.

7:33 AM: Let's not forget, Romney was not the favorite in the Colorado's Republican primary (via Denver Post):

7:38 AM: On the other hand (via Denver Post):


7:40 AM: No doubt that CO is a blue state this year, although that hasn't always been the case (Obama was the third Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since Harry Truman in 1948 and Bill Clinton in 1992).

7:47 AM: Getting a little bit of a late start on the radio because Justin Lynch slept through his alarm.

8:05 AM: Obama now leading 49% to 46% among likely voters, down from a five-point lead he enjoyed in mid-September (according to new WSJ/NBC News poll).

8:10 AM: Live here: WMEB-FM

8:20 AM: Justin Lynch says debate will be boring tonight.

8:33 AM: UMaine campus is buzzing for the election tonight (just kidding, everyone's going to class), but the TV's in the Memorial Union are playing continous pre-game discussion and will be for the next twelve hours.

8:42 AM: Anonymous brings National Defense Authorization Act to question, a day after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit extended it's indefinite dentention powers.

10:00 AM: Sorry about the lack of updates. I just got out of a class and am currently warming up to go running. In the mean while: Test your knowledge of U.S. Politics before the debate. Beat my score of 422 (terrible).

10:05 AM: Americans still give Romney slight edge in terms of which presidential candidate is better  to handle the economy (via Gallup):

10:07 AM: Obama's lead today was much larger four years ago:

Track the 2012 presidential race and compare it with other elections dating back to 1936.

10:12 AM: Here's why Romney needs to hit a homerun tonight. With this being the only debate focusing specifically on the economy, it's the only thing he's got over Obama (via Gallup):

10:13 AM: Obama resonates more with Americans. He's always had that swag though. Romney on the other hand, may turn out to be a Nixon in this one (via Gallup).

10:20 AM: #CantAfford4More, a strategy by the Romney campaign today to get voters thinking about the economy, deficit.

11:32 AM: Locked and loaded

11:36 AM: Word on the street is that the University of Denver has vowed for the #debatedenver Twitter hashtag. Still be looking at #debates and #Denverdebate

11:39 AM: Romney's promoted #CantAfford4More hashtag is bringing up interesting debate:

1:05 PM: GAME ON

1:52 PM: Twitter's Blog just for tonight: "Debate night in America"

1:53 PM: 47% still a reoccuring point of discussion at the University of Maine's Fogler Library.

3:18 PM: New NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll gives President Obama a 50 point lead among the Latino demographic (Obama 70%, Romney 20%). 55% believe the country is headed in the right direction (optimistic) and 58% chose Obama over Romeny when asked which candidate could handle the economy better.

3:30 PM: Stevens Hall at the University of Maine - housing some debate watching tonight:

3:35 PM: Occupy Denver is holding a protest of the presidential debates at McWilliams Park via their "Stop the Empire" campaign. In affiliation with the general Occupy movement, Occupy Denver is protesting the candidates and their corporate ties. They are uruging folks to not listen to the "meaningless conversations that do nothing except maintain the current power structures that are morally and fiscally bankrupt our nation." Here is a live stream of the event which starts at 7:30 PM EST:

4:02 PM: Just under five hours until debate time, folks.

DIGRESSION 4:10 PM: Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp team up again. Introducing: The Lone Ranger (Yes, Reagan would have had a stab at this role if he was still with us).

UPDATE 4:18 PM: Both candidates have lowered debate expectations before hand. Unfortunately for them, we haven't lowered our expectations at all.

UPDATE 4:23 PM: Apparently the best Republicans can do to combat the intriguing journalism of Mother Jones is to turn up an old video of a speech that President Obama gave as a senator at Hampton University in 2007. In the video, Obama praises Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a Chicago pastor who came into the limelight a year after with messages like this:

UPDATE 5:24 PM: Aurora is a little over 15 minutes away from the University of Denver. Will gun violence come up at the debate? 

My thoughts: It has to, but it will be brief.

UPDATE 5:30 PM: Twitter is expecting 1 million tweets PER HOUR during the debates. This is truly the first election soley fueled by social media.

UPDATE 7:25 PM: Wow, unexpectedly busy day. Time for some debate pre-game

UPDATE 7:35 PM: Could we be involved militarily in Syria by the end of next week? There's certainly a possibility. Although tonight's debate is on the economy, Syria will be a hot topic for sure.

UPDATE 7:40 PM: Mother Jones' Worst Debate Moment of Mitt Romney:

1994 Senate race against Sen. Ted Kennedy.

UPDATE 7:48 PM: Mother Jones' Worst Debate Moment of Barack Obama:

2008 Democratic Primary Debate (MSNBC). Mr. President..that would be the Prime Minister of Canada...not the President.

UPDATE 7:52 PM: My personal favorite from Mother Jones' Worst Debate Moments:

Obama's telepromter goes down at a town hall event in Bristol, VA.

UPDATE 7:57 PM: Sooo...this is why Gary Johnson wasn't invited to the Denver debate.

UPDATE 8:00 PM: One hour to go.

UPDATE 8:08 PM: Generation Opportunity polling shows that those between the ages of 18 and 29 (Generation Y or millennials) have a 12.7% unemployment rate. National average is of 8.3%.

UPDATE 8:12 PM: The above statistic, coupled with 1.7 million discouraged young workers yields the highest sustained U6 umemployment levels since WWII. Huge, huge, huge factors at stake for the future of this economy. Obama must make a case that he can do better and that he will work with Republicans, no matter how stubborn they are.

UPDATE 8:15 PM: Generation Opporunity polling released today also shows that 29% of millennials believe that economic polices crafted in Washington are acutally helping them, while 47% say they are hurting them. It's great to have a non-partisan think-tank like this polling the upcoming generation. Although baby boomers are a pivotal generation to focus on, any reform to accomade them will directly effect us, so we need to have a legitimate say in what's going on.

UPDATE 8:18 PM: Only 38% believe contemporary politicans reflect the interests of young Americans. I would venture to say this is common to all ages. Obama and Romney need to appeal to the average American tonight...and the average American is one that is struggling. We all need a lift of inspiration, a sentiment of change and optimism.

UPDATE 8:20 PM: Although 76% of young people plan to vote in this election, Obama doesn't have us "in the bag" just yet. A poll administered in August by JZ Analytics showed that only 49% planned on voting for Obama, down from 66% of the young adult vote that Obama recieved in 2008. It's time for Obama to step up his game and focus on winning votes, not paying for Romney to lose.

DIGRESSION 8:28 PM: Pre-gaming for the debate? Please choose a Songza station accordingly:

Obama's 2012 Election Playlist

Romney's On the Road Playlist

UPDATE 8:35 PM: A true Mainer debate-watch party at the Empire Dine and Dance in Portland:

DIGRESSION 8:38 PM: Ogbonna Hopkins of Hyattsville, Maryland has started a petition on Change.org to put Judy Sheindlin (aka. JUDGE JUDY) behind the moderator's desk.

UPDATE 8:42 PM: Craziness.

UPDATE 8:45 PM: We need compromise to pass budget and economy. President is only the quarterback. Lower corporate tax cut (highest in the country). We need cash back in this country to replenish middle class optimism.

UPDATE 8:46 PM: Obama can't say: it could have been worse. Keynesian strategy of government spending hasn't shown as great of a return as originally expected. President must move on to other options and he must assure Americans that this will happen.

UPDATE 8:48 PM: Romney and family playing Jenga backstage...I'm certain he's not partaking in the game because if he lost..it would be a "Jenga jinx".

UPDATE 8:53 PM: 80K tweets per minute is the bar set by Usain Bolt during the London Olympics. Can we beat it tonight??

UPDATE 8:54 PM: This is a HUGE night for social media with Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and PolicyMic using unique ways of getting this debate across the country. Awesome stuff.

UPDATE 8:58 PM: We're just about there folks

UPDATE 9:04 PM: Jim Lehrer is a BOSS.

UPDATE 9:04 PM: Anyone seeing this? It means PolicyMic is the place to be tonight.

UPDATE 9:04 PM: No hugs at the introduction. Obama holds Romney's right arm and a firm handshake that's about it.

UPDATE 9:06 PM: Red tie, blue tie. BAM.

UPDATE 9:07 PM: Obama says middle class is the way to fix the economy.

UPDATE 9:10 PM: Romney is about small business and "trickle-down" economics will not work. Obama currently rebuttling about.....education(?).

UPDATE 9:11 PM: Romney's opening in a couple of tweets:

UPDATE 9:13 PM: Romney saying middle class are crushed by food prices, gas prices, health care costs, and taxes. But where is this "middle class" on the economic spectrum Mr. Romney? It's a very vague word.


UPDATE 9:15 PM: It looks more and more like #debates is the best hashtag for tonight to follow.

UPDATE 9:18 PM: So weird to see Obama at the defense as the incumbent. Has it really already been four years? Not looking to good right now, but maybe he's going for the Muhammed Ali strategy tonight.

UPDATE 9:19 PM: Gov. Romney needs to ulitize this first thirty minutes to take a lead on Obama over the economy. This is going to be a very tough debate for Obama. The rest are smooth sailing.

UPDATE 9:20 PM: Obama using some key names to flaunt the DNC platform....Bill Clinton.

UPDATE 9:22 PM: So true.

UPDATE 9:24 PM: That may have been a nice gesture by Obama but not a smart one. You can't just "move on to the next question" when dealing with the budget deficit.

UPDATE 9:25 PM: Obama: "I'm not paying attention."

UPDATE 9:26 PM: FEDERAL DEBT..my favorite subject.

UPDATE 9:28 PM: Romney can't just say that to Lehrer...guy means business.

UPDATE 9:28 PM: But Pres. Obama, you need to do a better job of cutting things out. Romney has it right: drastic measures need to be taken to cut anything and everything we can live without. That being said, it needs to be done with careful discretion.

UPDATE 9:30 PM: Bowles-Simpson got rejected by Congress, but Obama did support it. It needs to be a balanced strategy. Obama's right.

UPDATE 9:32 PM: But Romney, you have to raise taxes or at least keep them the same or the deficit WILL NOT GET BETTER. There has to be revenue, doesn't matter how much. It certainly can't be cuts.

UPDATE 9:35 PM: The FLOTUS wave.

UPDATE 9:36 PM: Well, a little bit. But there still needs to be something else.

UPDATE 9:38 PM: Romney does have a point. Oil and Green energy subsidies have officially entered the debate...and this is while Obama is already on the ropes.

UPDATE 9:40 PM: Obama just waiting to get out of the economy talk...and here comes the entitlements.

UPDATE 9:43 PM: Social Security... Obama: "You don't need a major structural change?" Yes you do Mr. President, yes you do. 

UPDATE 9:45 PM: Romney wants to kill PBS and Big Bird...with no remorse. Not cool brah, not cool.

UPDATE 9:46 PM: Baby boomers, listen up to this voucher program.

UPDATE 9:48 PM: Ron Paul supporters about to barge in at any moment.

UPDATE 9:49 PM: Some pep talk for Obama


UPDATE 9:51 PM: Is regulation too much right now? Romney: Yes. Dodd-Frank needs to be reformed.

UPDATE 9:54 PM: Stop talking over Jim, man.

UPDATE 9:54 PM: This is Romney's backyard. His expertise in business is superior to Obama. The End.

UPDATE 9:57 PM: Debate Wednesday has turned into Thirsty Thursday fast.

UPDATE 9:58 PM: Here it comes, after a huge positional argument by Romney. Can Obama refute these claims and argue for ACA and the SCOTUS ruling?

UPDATE 9:59 PM: Romney doesn't like big government, but his flag is bigger (on the left).

UPDATE 10:02 PM: Republicans and Democrats worked together in MA, that's why Romney liked universal MA healthcare. Oh, that's why.

UPDATE 10:04 PM: Lehrer gave Obama those extra 45 seconds for supporting NPR.

UPDATE 10:06 PM: Healthcare still a massive issue in our country right now.

UPDATE 10:08 PM: I told you...Ron Paul supporters are coming through backstage any moment.

UPDATE 10:09 PM: Romney looks comfortable tonight. It's finally the real Romney. His disguised moderatism has come out post-primaries. 

UPDATE 10:11 PM: Romney's feeling good.

UPDATE 10:12 PM: But Romney: Obama is no Reagan. And Boehner is certainly not a Tip O'Neill.

UPDATE 10:14 PM: Most boring issue of the night is the last. Federalist...Anti-Federalist, blah, blah, blah.

UPDATE 10:15 PM: Education reform...could Obama mention student loans here???

UPDATE 10:16 PM: We're not reading the constitution here.

UPDATE 10:18 PM: Obama stumped.

UPDATE 10:20 PM: Romney breaks the cycle big time. Just refered to Title 1 students as being "disabled" and "poor kids". WOW.

UPDATE 10:22 PM: Both Obama and Romney are for lowering interest rates, so what else can you do?

UPDATE 10:23 PM: Romney, you're not for clean energy. No jokes.

UPDATE 10:25 PM: Lots of ZINGS tonight from Romney:

UPDATE 10:26 PM: Romney trying so hard to get Independents right now. No compromising principle. COMMON GROUND..bam. But will he really do this and combat the ultra-conservative Republican party right now?

UPDATE 10:28 PM: Afghanistan and Iraq mentioned...we've touched upon just about everything tonight.

UPDATE 10:29 PM: Closing Statement Obama: Everyone need's to pay their fair share. I'm a fighter

UPDATE 10:30 PM: Closing Statement Romney: I care about all Americans (not just 47%).

UPDATE 10:34 PM: Jim Lehrer F Romney F Obama F (maybe that's a little harsh).

UPDATE 10:35 PM: Obama and Romney enjoy a moment together after the debate. A great first debate in my mind.

UPDATE 10:37 PM: Keystone-Patch live chat showing 67% of folks seeing Pres. Obama as winning the debate tonight.

UPDATE 10:41 PM: Let's be honest, Jim didn't do a great job moderating. But this made the debate unique. Both candidates did there fair share of interupting and both were equally agressive enough to stablize the back-and-forth. Jim's a distinguished man who deserves credit for doing the first debate of a crucial and high-stakes election.

UPDATE 10:43 PM: Jim Lehrer came out of retirment to do this debate, and this is why:

UPDATE 10:45 PM: Now that that's over can CBS's Bob Shieffer or Candy Crowley do better? (Obviously Candy Crowley's going to be great)

UPDATE 10:50 PM: It's offical, Obama's deputy campiagn manager Steph Cutter is already saying Romney won some big style points in tonight's debate. He sure did.

UPDATE 10:52 PM: MSNBC is absolutley ripping on Obama right now. This could change the polls drastically in the next week or so. Bad thing for Romney: foreign policy is the subject of the next debate.

UPDATE 10:53 PM: Obama not in it from the start, didn't have leg to stand on the entire debate. Romney #killedit.

UPDATE 10:56 PM: Ryan is satisifed with newly "shell-broken" running mate:

UPDATE 11:00 PM: Obama's typical, swag was not present tonight. 

Maybe he was upset about the anniversary. Who knows.

UPDATE 11:01 PM: Obama and Romney both touched on compromise and dealing with polariztion currently--a vital issue in my mind. Romney answered it the way I wanted Obama to, but Obama just couldn't get himself to say "finding a way to agree is the way to go". That being said, you would say the same thing, too if you had to deal with Spk. John Boehner and the House Tea Party minority for four long years.

UPDATE 11:05 PM: Similar to the Senate race in Maine, it's easy to say that compromise and principled bipartisanshi is the way to go, but both Angus King and Gov. Romney have not worked in  the legistlaure before; only in an executive role. It's critical that someone who knows first hand how bad it is can attest to the issue and seek solutions. Obama needs to make an effort to do this or he will lose independent vote (which consitutes one of the largest portions of Americans in the history of U.S. politics).

UPDATE 11:09 PM: But will you really do this Mitt? Romney, at least to me, has clearly broken out of his shell tonight. Why was he in a shell before? Because he had to win the primary, and in order to win the primary he had to show he was "conservative" enough for this current party. What hurts him by appearing as a more middle-leaning conservative now is that people don't believe him, including myself. He can say all he wants about each sector of the economy and how he wants to provide liberal aspects (via voucher programs) to just about everything, but is this realistic for us to assume?

UPDATE 11:27 PM: MSNBC clearly has high expectations for Obama. Can't wait to see what Akin says about Romney on FOX tomorrow morning.

UPDATE 11:30 PM: Romney won the debate by making himself out to be specific. Obama's ads reflect this.

UPDATE 11:32 PM: It's a shame I didn't post this before but after looking at it, BINGO might be harder than you would have thought before the debate. No mention on Citizens United or virutally anything on how immigration plays a role in the economy (massive role) or health care. Obama didn't "let himself be clear much" either, which he probably should have.

UPDATE 11:36 PM: By far Romney's worst gaffe of the night was claiming Title 1 students in public school systems were "disabled" (which to a certain extent they are) and that they were the "poor kids". I have absolutely no idea how this slipped through the media. Maybe it was shadowed by the rest of his kick-ass debate.

UPDATE 11:38 PM: Obama showed up tonight expecting to debate a nervous, Nixon-esque debator who doesn't have the full support of his party, nor his aides. He didn't realize he was actually up against the 1994 Romney. Fail.

UPDATE 11:41 PM: Big Bird's upset about tonight's comment:

UPDATE 11:42 PM: Another significant mistake by Obama tonight: not mentioning women when discussing Health Care. Where were you tonight, Barry?

UPDATE 11:47 PM: Michael Moore just announced on Facebook that he's very unimpressed with the president as well. Those who started the victory party too early are "going to bed sober tonight", he said.

UPDATE 11:50 PM: Factchecks are already in. Obama's $2.50/$1.50 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases shifts signficantly towards tax increases when taking into account the administration's creative bookkeeping that hides spending on Medicare reimbursments to doctors.

UPDATE 11:51 PM: Romney promised to balance a budget in eight year to ten years (which doesn't make sense since he the most he could possibly be in office is eight). This is an impossible gesture unless he changes his other proposals to increase defense spending and restoring more than $700 billion in cuts that Democrats made in Medicare over the coming decade. This isn't feasible and Romney knows that. There needs to be some revenue, even if we are in a recession, if he truly wants to fix the debt issue.

UPDATE 11:55 PM: Obama claimed that Romney wants to cut taxes by $5 trillion. This doesn't add up. Obama's math didn't take into account Romney's paln to cut income tax rates by 20% which would reduce federal tax revenues by $465 in 2015, which would add up to about $5 over ten years. The fact still remains, under Romney's plan, the former governor has refused to announce which tax breaks he would eliminate to pay for the lower rates (Bush tax cuts <cough> <cough>.

UPDATE 12:00 PM: Who else goes on to Facebook to find it cluttered with debate stuff? It's awsome, but I am definetly getting pretty tired.

Yes, Big Bird, I actually am.

UPDATE 12:02 AM: Great reference to Anchorman, although Romney wasn't this Romney tonight.

DIGRESSION 12:05 AM: In other news, the Red Sox are offically firing Bobby Valentine (one of the worst coaches in Red Sox history, in my mind). Similar to the Repulican presidential primary field, and to both primary candidate fields of the Republicans and Democrats in Maine's Senate race, the Red Sox also didn't have much to choose from. So, they went with Bobby V. this summer, only to have him miserably fail. Is this a testament to why Romney shouldn't be elected? I think so.

UPDATE 12:09 PM: No matter what happened tonight, 7/11 has predicted a win for the Obama campaign via it's "7-Election"coffee cup promotion which bases it's percentages off of who takes a blue cup or red cup for their coffee.

 This is no joke however. It's successfully decided the last three elections. So go out and get yourself a coffee.

UPDATE 12:13 AM: CNN just went through all of the data on how Romney won on all accouts and has decided that 8% of the undecided voters will now support Romney and 8% will support Obama.

UPDATE 12:16 AM: Although Romney had a great peformance, it was mostly economic jibberish. No positive, memorable quotations from tonight whatsoever.

UPDATE 12:20 AM: They got very close, but not close enough.

UPDATE 12:22 AM: Romney vs. Obama on the hardwood?

UPDATE 12:22 AM: Ending today's live-blogging on an SNL note, relevant to the debate tonight. Romney is obviously vying for the independent vote. Will Obama take a reach at it too? It's going to be more important this year than ever before.


Thanks for following. The next 2012 debate is the vice presididential debate. This will take place next Thursday, Oct. 11, from 9:00 - 10:30 PM EST from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Martha Raddatz will moderate and the debate will be covering foreign and domestic policy.