Mitt Romney was the clear winner of the first 2012 presidential debate held in Denver.
He had obviously practiced so hard and so long that he was nearly hoarse.
Mitt Romney looked Barack Obama in the eyes as he interrupted with animation, overriding the moderator, insisting on a comeback. He didn’t seem rude. He did seem in command and to be enjoying the scrap.
President Barack Obama on the other hand looked as though he’d much rather be out celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife. He started out looking very nervous, swallowing hard, not the confident performer we are used to seeing.
Barack Obama warmed up and got into his stride but that meant he ended up giving overlong, mini-lectures straight to camera rather than engaging, arguing. He seemed unwilling to actually enter a debate with his opponent, and missed a few obvious openings when he could have attacked Mitt Romney.
Two-thirds of people who watched the first presidential debate think that Republican nominee Mitt Romney won the showdown, according to a nationwide poll conducted Wednesday night.
According to a CNN/ORC International survey conducted right after the debate, 67% of debate watchers questioned said that the Republican nominee won the faceoff, with one in four saying that President Barack Obama was victorious.
“No presidential candidate has topped 60% in that question since it was first asked in 1984,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
While nearly half of debate watchers said the showdown didn’t make them more likely to vote for either candidate, 35% said the debate made them more likely to vote for Mitt Romney while only 18% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote to re-elect the president.
More than six in ten said that president did worse than expected, with one in five saying that Obama performed better than expected. Compare that to the 82% who said that Mitt Romney performed better than expected. Only one in ten felt that the former Massachusetts governor performed worse than expected.
“This poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the debate and by definition cannot be an indication of how the entire American public will react to Wednesday’s debate in the coming days,” cautions Keating Holland.
The sample of debate-watchers in the poll was 37% Democratic and 33% Republican.
“That indicates that the sample of debate watchers is about four points more Democratic and about eight points more Republican than an average CNN poll of all Americans, for a small advantage for the Republicans in the sample of debate-watchers,” adds Keating Holland.
The poll suggests that the debate didn’t change opinions of the president. Forty-nine percent of debate watchers said before the debate that they had a favorable opinion of Barack Obama, and that number didn’t change following the debate.
It was pretty much a similar story for Mitt Romney, whose favorable rating among debate watchers edged up just two points, from 54% before the debate to 56% after the debate.
The economy dominated the first debate and according to the poll, and by a 55%-43% margin, debate watchers said that Mitt Romney rather than Barack Obama would better handle the economy. On the issue of taxes, which kicked off the debate, Mitt Romney had a 53%-44% edge over Barack Obama. And by a 52%-47% margin, debate watchers said Mitt Romney would better handle health care, and he had the edge on the budget deficit by a 57%-41% margin.
Debate watchers thought Mitt Romney was more aggressive. Fifty-three percent said Mitt Romney spent more time attacking his opponent. Only three in ten thought Barack Obama spent more time taking it to Mitt Romney. By a 58%-37% margin, debate watchers thought Mitt Romney appeared to be the stronger leader.
“Romney’s only Achilles heel may be the perception that he spent more time attacking his opponent than Obama, which may explain why two-thirds of debate-watchers said that Romney did the best job but only 46% said that he was more likeable than Obama,” says Keating Holland.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, with 430 adult Americans who watched the debate questioned by telephone. All interviews were conducted after the end of the debate. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 4.5%.
Ann Romney, wife of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has painted a loving portrait of her husband at the Republican convention, on the day he became the party’s White House nominee.
In her prime-time speech, Ann Romney spoke of her “real marriage” to a steadfast partner and father.
Correspondents say the address aimed to show the human side of the Republican, who lags behind President Barack Obama in likeability ratings.
Mitt Romney will challenge the Democratic president in November’s elections.
Opinion polls show Barack Obama neck and neck with Mitt Romney, who will deliver his big speech to the convention on Thursday.
Highlighting Mitt Romney’s image problem, a new opinion poll suggests the former Massachusetts governor’s favorability rating is the lowest of any major party nominee since Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
Ann Romney, 63, told the audience she wanted to “talk to you from my heart about our hearts”, saying of her husband, “you really should get to know him”.
She talked about the way her husband helped her deal with multiple sclerosis and breast cancer.
“I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a <<storybook marriage>>,” she said.
“Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters on MS [multiple sclerosis] or breast cancer.
“A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.”
Ann Romney has painted a loving portrait of her husband Mitt Romney at the Republican convention
She addressed criticism from Democrats over her husband’s successful private equity career.
“Mitt will be the first to tell you that he is the most fortunate man in the world.
“But as his partner on this amazing journey, I can tell you Mitt Romney was not handed success. He built it.”
Ann Romney ended by pledging: “This man will not fail. This man will not let us down.
“He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance.”
Mitt Romney, 65, appeared on stage and kissed his wife as she concluded her remarks, to a standing ovation from the audience.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered the keynote address after Ann Romney.
“Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to put us back on the path to growth and create good paying private sector jobs again in America,” he said.
The speeches followed a roll-call of party delegates and a lively voice poll in which state delegates called out their team’s allocation of votes.
Altogether, Mitt Romney secured 2,061 votes, bringing him comfortably over the crucial 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.
Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan was also given the Republican party’s official stamp of approval on Tuesday.
Speakers attacked Barack Obama, with House Speaker John Boehner saying “his record is as shallow as his rhetoric”.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said the president has “never run a company. He hasn’t even run a garage sale or seen the inside of a lemonade stand.”
The convention also approved its party platform – a policy agenda that calls for tax cuts to revive the economy, repealing and replacing a healthcare law passed by Barack Obama, and an end to abortion.
Recent opinion polls have indicated that voters view the economy and unemployment, which is stuck at 8.3%, as top priorities.
The platform also calls for the overturning of measures passed to regulate Wall Street in the wake of the 2008 economic collapse.
This is Mitt Romney’s second run for the White House, after an unsuccessful bid in 2008.
President Obama’s re-nomination will be confirmed next week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
This year’s convention got off to a late start when Monday’s programme was postponed amid concerns that Hurricane Isaac might disrupt the proceedings in Tampa.
But the category one hurricane missed Tampa, instead making landfall in southern Louisiana on Tuesday evening.
It comes almost seven years to the day since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.
Key convention speeches
Tuesday: Ann Romney, House Speaker John Boehner, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former US senator Rick Santorum, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Wednesday: New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, Arizona Senator John McCain, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan
Thursday: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, presidential candidate Mitt Romney
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