Stillwater News Press

October 9, 2012

Oklahoma State University election class says Romney won first debate

By John Filonow
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Jeanette Mendez has a don’t ask, don’t tell policy concerning her political affiliation.

The Oklahoma State University and professor’s elections class discussed last week’s presidential debate Monday.

“It’s tough in this type of class (to not reveal personal politics,)”  said Mendez, who is also head of the university’s political science department.

The class’ overall impression was Romney appeared more confident and prepared while Obama is a better orator when he has more time.

Julianna Muskrat, a political science junior, said she prefers foreign policy to domestic issues, which was the first debate’s focus. She thought Obama was the better public speaker and Romney the better debater.

Other debate descriptions fell in line with what has been presented in the media. Obama was “disengaged,” and didn’t make eye contact with Romney. Romney was aggressive. Obama passive.

The class decided in a vote that Obama’s sub-par performance wasn’t strategic.

Evan Taylor, a political science junior, said the president may have been trying to appeal to women voters by appearing less aggressive.

The class agreed moderator Jim Lehrer didn’t have control of the debate and both candidates went over their allotted time and interupted each other.

Osagie Agbon, a history and political science junior, said he thought Obama couldn’t move past certain points of disagreement with Romney’s proposals.

“He wouldn’t let go of that Romney’s tax plan would raise the deficit by $5 trillion,” Agbon said.

The Republican presidential candidate repeatedly denied Obama’s claim, but Obama kept harping on it, he said.

Lainie Albach, a political science junior, said she watched the debate with two undecided voters.

“They were very turned off by the ‘he said/he said’ and left,” she said.

Romney, the class agreed, came across as more down to earth than usual, but some thought Obama did a good job of looking into the camera and appealing to the TV audience.

Taylor said Obama did a good job of reaching the public when he talked about how his grandmother wouldn’t be able to live in today’s economy without Medicare.

He added Romney had a good strategy of using Obama’s attacks against him. He said Romney mentioned Obama’s “trickle-down government,” playing on Obama’s attacks on Romney’s “trickle-down economics.”

The class agreed they were looking forward to the vice presidential debate Thursday as well as the next presidential debate Oct. 16. Most of the class said Obama would be more prepared.

“Obama had an off night,” Agbon said.

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s economic and budget plan should be a topic of Thursday’s debate, he said.