Domestic policy disputed at first presidential debate


Associated Press – President Barack Obama listens as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3. 2012.

Alongside celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary, President Barack Obama had his first face-to-face date with Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., at the Oct. 3 presidential debate.

Held at the University of Denver in Colorado, the de- bate focused on domestic policy issues, such as energy, tax cuts, education, healthcare and the national deficit.

Critics and commentators named Romney the winner of the night.

“It was basically a matter of Romney defining himself, and I think he did a great job of doing that,” said Nathan Miller, president of the Riverside County Young Republicans.

The effectiveness and constitutionality of Obamacare remains on the forefront of political discussions.

Obama touted that, among its benefits, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows young people to stay on their parents’ heath insurance plan longer.

“I think the American people have to ask themselves, is the reason that Gov. Romney is keeping all these plans to replace (my policies) secret because they’re too good? Or is it because that somehow the middle-class families are going to benefit too much from them? No,” Obama said.

Both candidates also ad- dressed the affordability of attending institutions of higher education.

“I don’t think Mitt Romney truly supports students at private and public universities to the level that Obama does,” said Scott Talkov, president of the Riverside County Young Democrats.

The president applauded the government’s efforts in taking over the dispersal of student loans to keep costs down for students.

“Honestly, I doubt Obama will follow through with any of his agenda items concerning higher education costs,” said Andriana VanderGriend, senior political science and philosophy major. “I think higher education is a solid investment and is worth the price tag.

“There are enough private scholarships students could seek in order to help pay for college without put- ting a bigger burden on the current financial crisis in the United States.”

Romney went on to challenge the president for claiming to believe the education system is the heart of America, but by saying that instead of investing in edu- cation the president invests $90 billion in green jobs.

“I think both are important,” said VanderGriend. “Green jobs are necessary to provide lower energy costs across the nation and are a great way to boost the economy and create jobs.”

Miller said he believes that people are already doubtful of the incumbent. However, Talkov contends that the election is still left in the hands of swing states like Ohio and Florida. “Romney has a very limited chance of victory,” Talkov said. “He needs to win so many states at this point that are contested that (the debate) would have to change a lot of people’s mind.”

The next debate is set for Oct. 11, and will feature the running mates of the presidential candidates — current Vice President Joe Biden, and Republican Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

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