You don’t have to tell the truth to win a debate, but you do have to have fine talking points, clear and simple policies, effective communication, good body language, sound composure, a sense of humour, and a competitive edge.
I woke up this morning and read on Twitter that media outlets the world over are ‘fact checking’ Romney’s comments and claims. However, I don’t think people watching are thinking, ‘Is this even true?’ I think people are more likely to look for the issues mentioned above. People watching want to see a politician act and sound presidential. The truth is essentially irrelevant. That’s what the television and the live image does: it takes us further and further away from the truth.
Romney, I think, was the winner of this debate, and here’s why. He was very aggressive, always on the attack, and had that killer look on his face. Obama, however, was quite passive and seemed to approach the debate as some type of intellectual discussion. Romney’s tone and energy were also much higher than Obama’s. I could tell Obama didn’t bring his ‘A’ game in his first comment. He looked tired and worn out, like he didn’t want to be there. He also kept looking down. Romney always had his head and eyes up.
Romney was also wise to have points to explain his policies. He kept saying, ‘There are five things in my plan’ or ‘Here’s what I’m going to do… here’s number 1…’. That was effective, even if what he was saying wasn’t true. Romney also made it very clear to Americans why he’s different from Obama. He frequently turned in Obama’s direction and criticized the president. Obama hardly ever did that. Obama also hardly ever criticized Romney’s policies. He was on the defense and that’s not a good thing.
Obama has to bring more energy to the second debate. He also needs to fight and push back at Romney when he gets aggressive.
Who knows if these debates even really matter. Debates have rarely won or lost an election. Who knows, though. That could all change. What’s clear, however, is that Romney won this debate.