Poll: Who Won the First Presidential Debate?

Millions of viewers tuned in Wednesday night to watch President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney square off on the economy and domestic policy. Who came away with the victory in your opinion?

It was lively. It was back-and-forth, and for a moment, it gave Big Bird a perch atop the Twitter universe.

The first of three presidential debates created buzz for millions of Americans, who finally got to see Barack Obama and Mitt Romney face off in a discussion that ranged from trillion-dollar tax cuts to a fleeting moment about Sesame Street. This Wednesday night debate at the University of Denver was the first of three, with the night's focus on the economy and domestic policy. 

President Obama was seen as the favorite heading into the debate. But after, some believe Gov. Romney emerged as the more aggressive -- and perhaps more impressive -- of the two, while the President played it safe, working to hold a lead like a boxer ahead on points.

Ron Fournier of the National Journal said Obama suffered from the "curse of incumbency." Others will say Romney could still be haunted by his "47 percent" comment while also appearing to not deliver enough specifics on his plans.

Romney, already in Denver, told a cheering crowd Monday night, "In my view it's not so much winning and losing or even the people themselves, the president and myself - it's about something bigger than that,” reported the Associated Press

He also told supporters he would get America working again. "Jobs is job one under my administration," Romney said, debuting a new line midway through his standard campaign speech.

"President Obama is the most gifted speaker in modern political history," said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul to ABC in an effort to lower expectations about the Republican candidate's upcoming performance.

Comments like that led President Obama to respond with a humble assessment of his own skills: "Gov. Romney is a good debater. I'm just OK," he said.

However, many analysts said that Governor Romney had given a solid performance, providing specifics and specifically critiquing the past four years of the Obama presidency. 

Others stated President Obama had not come prepared, and even looked disengaged during the first half hour. Another CNN panelist said that “Romney was able to out-Obama Obama,” and that Romney brought up topics Obama was unprepared to discuss.

The next debate is scheduled at 6 p.m. on Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, while the debate on foreign policy is scheduled at 6 p.m. Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

So tell us in the comments, who do you think gave the better debate performance? What were some standout moments for you?  

Two Sides October 04, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Clearly Romney.
A J October 04, 2012 at 02:46 PM
If that debate did not clearly show you who is more fit to be president, then nothing will.
Michael October 04, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I'd give Romney an A, Obama a B-. Obama sure could have used a Red Bull and a teleprompter. Looking at the split screen, Romney sure LOOKS like a president, doesn't he?
Rosalie Stafford October 04, 2012 at 03:09 PM
He shouldn't leave home without his Teleprompter
Rachel October 04, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Looking like a President doesn't make you a President. The bottom line is Willard outlined NOTHING. This race is nowhere near over.
Lydia Plunk October 04, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Not even MSNBC could call the debate a wash. Obama came in like this was a pep-rally. By contrast, Romney came in armed with facts, plans and statistical support. Romney demonstrated he is more competent. I have supported the idea of a Romney presidency since 2008- however I'm not with the campaign. Still I came home from a debate watching party with phone requests for 20 signs and where can people go to phone bank to swing states. That is a real life indicator of how last night went. People are no longer going to put up with a President who knows slogans, but little about leadership or management or persuasion. People want a President who isn't going to railroad the opposition into submission, like the President did with the Health Care Bill that is effectively raising our taxes on Jan 1 .He had one show meeting where not one idea by a Republican was incorporated into the bill- judged to be a tax by the US Supreme Court.
Debbie Hughes October 04, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Romney just makes better sense with clear ideas. Obama has never stopped campaiging. He talks the talk but what changes have really taken place. He wants to change the whole idea of our land of the free. We are headed towards socialist ideas and a dictatorship Government under his leadership. Romney seemed more sure of himself last night. Obama stumbled on his words a lot, which seemed to make him appear unprepared. We can only put this election in Gods hands and Pray for the best.
Rhonda October 04, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Rachel is right! It's time we vote in a president who doesn't just LOOK like a president, but actually can turn this country around rather than turn it into something else. Obama is a puppet of a larger machine and without the puppet masters feeding him with the teleprompter, he ends up being nothing more than that "empty chair." Romney definitely won this debate, but I imagine Obama's Chicago machine will get him some 5 Hour Energy Drink before the next debate. I do believe (but can be convinced otherwise) that the debates are all about the undecided voters. The two parties have such strongly contrasting planks that I'm mystified as to why anyone remains "undecided." Buckle up....here we go!
The Real Deal October 04, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I definitely think that Romney won the debate. However, I am still not convinced that his plan to give tax cuts to the rich and hope that they give Americans jobs is an effective and smart plan to rely on to turn our Country around. That is his only strategy and guess what, if that does not happen, and I'm not conviced that it will, guess who's gonna get taxed? Again the middle class will suffer. I think that Romney portrayed himself as much more of a moderate than he really is and that many of the ideals he came out in support of, he will later denounce. Time will tell...
Ray Russell October 04, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Romney won the debate by a landslide. Obama came out as a slow witted, unprepared, unknowing person. Without his written prompts he could only spout what his hacks had prepared him to say. He repeated himself and failed time and again to answer the questions and responses to his own statements. If you want someone's puppet, vote for Obama. But if you want a thinking, patriotic, American for President, vote for Romney!
Matt October 04, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Think that was a beating? Wait until Ryan embarrasses Biden
notsomuch October 05, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Ryan will leave Biden SPEECHLESS!
Jack Morgan October 07, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Romney 2012.
Michael October 07, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Romney 49%, Obama, 47%. Somebody liked the way Willard Romney handled himself over Hussein Obama. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll


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