The Signal debate series

Oct. 3 marked the first of three presidential debates, and one vice presidential debate, all to be held this month to give voters a chance to learn more about each candidate’s solution for a slow economy, rising healthcare costs and other problems facing Americans. 

Half of last Wednesday’s debate focused on the economy, with moderator Jim Lehrer asking candidates about jobs, the federal deficit, taxes and entitlements. Candidates also debated healthcare, governing and the role of government during the 90-minute event.

The economy

— President Obama

President Obama’s proposal to jump-start the economy includes investing in education, new energy sources,

— Governor Romney

adjusting the tax code and reducing the national deficit.

Obama asked, “Are we going to double-down on the top-down economic policies that helped get us into this mess? Or do we embrace a new economic patriotism that says, America does best when the middle-class does best?”

Governor Romney’s economic focus was on energy independence, opening trade, education and job training, balancing the budget and promoting small business.

“[I’ll] get us energy independent, North America energy independent, that creates about 4 million jobs,” Romney said.

— President Obama

By the end of the debate, Romney said his policies would

— Governor Romney

create 12 million jobs.

Obama outlined plans to hire one hundred thousand more math and science teachers, add spaces to community colleges around the country and keep tuition low for students.

On taxes, Obama said, “I want to provide tax breaks for companies that are investing here in the United States.”

Romney responded with a tax plan that would lower the burden on companies and individuals, but would limit deductions and exemptions as well.

The deficit

Romney said of the national deficit, “It’s not moral for my generation to keep spending

— Governor Romney

massively more than we take in knowing those burdens are going to be passed to the next generation.”

Romney’s solution to the deficit problem is lower government spending and grow the economy. His plan

— President Obama

includes eliminating subsides and programs, reducing the number of government employees by consolidating departments, and cutting tax revenue altogether.

“The revenue I get is by more people working, getting higher

pay and paying taxes,” Romney said.

Obama proposed a four trillion dollar deficit reduction plan and revenue increase.

“$2.50 for every cut, we ask for $1 in additional revenue paid for by asking those who have done very well in this country, to contribute a little bit more to reduce the deficit,” Obama explained.


— President Obama

Obama opened the entitlement portion of last Wednesday’s debate by illustrating how $716 billion was trimmed from Medicare’s budget by stopping cases of overpaying insurance companies and providers.

The savings from Medicare were allocated to preventative

— Governor Romney

care and reducing prescription drug costs for seniors, according to Obama.

Romney said, “I want to take that $716 billion you’ve cut and put it back into Medicare.”

Romney added that he did not favor changing Medicare for current users, but would let future users choose between private and traditional government plans.


Role of government

Romney cited his business experience to support regulations, but said the government’s role should be limited.

“In some places, regulation has become excessive,” Romney said.

On the contrary, Obama said, “The reason we have been in such an enormous economic crisis was prompted by reckless behavior across the board.”



Some Georgia State students joined in the debate, voicing their thoughts on what candidates appeared to stronger in the first debate.

Follow @gsusignal during the remaining debates and voice your thoughts on how the candidates are doing, what policies matter to you, and the impact of this election will have on America.


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