Two councilmen react to first presidential debateWritten by Kyle Cappelletty | | email@example.com
President Barack Obama supporters gathered Oct. 3 to watch the first presidential debate between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the commander-in-chief.
The Obama for America campaign event occurred at 119 N. Ontario St. in Downtown.
The debate was set at the University of Denver and hosted by journalist Jim Lehrer. The format consisted of three different segments on the economy and one each on health care, the role of government and governing.
At the watch party, City Council President Joe McNamara said, “President Obama had an inherent advantage coming into the debate because he was able to point to four years’ worth of policies that have benefited the middle class. In contrast, Romney has been reluctant to discuss the specific details of his plans and proposals. This is alarming for voters who are simply left wondering.”
The day after the debate, Republican Councilman Rob Ludeman disagreed. He said, “I have never seen a debate that was so clearly one sided in the favor of Gov. Romney. Romney showed confidence and great stage presence while Obama looked uninterested and at times dull. When Gov. Romney was cut off by Moderator Jim Lehrer, his aggressiveness was evident and in a way, that almost allowed him to take control of the debate. Romney really hit a homerun last night; helping to re-energize the GOP base and persuade complacent voters.”
“Romney needs to continue to focus on jobs as he successfully did during the debate and continue to push the idea that Obama’s ideas have failed to take the country down the right track,” Ludeman said.
Like Ludeman, many critics have deemed Romney the “winner” of last night’s debate because he appeared better prepared and spoke passionately, while Obama mumbled his ideas at times.
At the Oct. 3 event, former GST Steel Negotiator David Foster provided an example of Romney contributing to job losses. Foster was the GST Steel Negotiator for more than 16 years and was responsible for securing the benefits for the union steelworkers in District 11.When Bain Capital bought GST Steel in 1993, Foster was the man responsible for overseeing the transition. Bain Capital was founded in 1984 by Mitt Romney.
“Despite Romney’s claim in the debate that he was all about creating jobs, my experiences with his ambitions proved to be quite the opposite,” Foster said.
“By 2001, GST Steel was more than $500 million in debt, factories were shut down, and more than 1,000 hardworking Americans lost their jobs,” Foster said. “Bain Capital and Mitt Romney walked away with millions of dollars at the expense of middle class Americans and their jobs. One factory that was shut down supported jobs in the Kansas City community for more than five generations and just like that it was gone.”
During the campaign, Obama has been critical of Romney’s private sector work. But, Obama did not mention Bain Capital or criticize Romney for his past work with the investment firm.
Romney did not miss the opportunity to talk about how President Obama’s proposals could lead to the loss of American jobs.
“Your plan is to take the tax rate on successful small businesses from 35 percent to 40 percent,” Romney said. “The National Federation of Independent Businesses has said that will cost 700,000 jobs. I don’t want to cost jobs. My priority is jobs.”
Obama did discuss his plans for job creation and some of the progress the country has made under his tutelage.
“Over the last 30 months, we’ve seen 5 million jobs in the private sector created. The auto industry has come roaring back. And housing has begun to rise. But we all know that we’ve still got a lot of work to do. And so the question here tonight is not where we’ve been, but where we’re going. Gov. Romney has a perspective that says if we cut taxes, skewed towards the wealthy, and roll back regulations, that we’ll be better off. I’ve got a different view. I think we’ve got to invest in education and training,” Obama said.
The next debate between the presidential contenders will be Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.