The first presidential debate is in the past, but the debate over it continues. Thursday, a group of Drake University students offered their analysis.
“We talked in class about how there was a split screen so you could see both of their kind of reactions through the whole debate and I think those cues they were giving is what the audience saw first and foremost, and they saw Mitt Romney was being very confident, and that President Obama was not as forceful and aggressive with what he was saying. I think that’s what a lot of people picked up on,” said Heather Boone, a senior at Drake.
Many students agreed that in their opinion, Romney took the debate last night, not necessarily for what he said but how he presented himself. And the timing, they said, couldn't have been better.
“He`s now open the door for him to become a legitimate alternative to President Obama, rather than President Obama being able to put the last nail in, and saying ‘look at this guy he`s not worth even taking a look at,’” said Matt Sowden, a Drake Senior.
“I think going into this debate Obama had a very clear advantage, he was controlling the campaign but the debate changed that, Romney put himself ahead in the campaign,” said Michael Boomershime
Professor and political expert Art Sanders said while debates like this don't usually serve to sway voters, Last night's performance by Romney opened up a very big opportunity going forward.
“Had Romney done badly in this first debate I think republican money would have shifted to house and senate races and I think he really would have been left in a very difficult situation.” Instead, Sanders said, “it’s made some people who are wavering or some people who were perhaps only leaning slightly toward Obama, and excuse in a sense to reconsider.”
Sanders says he has no doubt the gap between the two candidates will now tighten, but as for Romney inching ahead in the polls, he said that still depends- largely in part to just how big a roll this first debate continues to play in the weeks ahead.
“That's the Romney’s campaign`s job right now, to try and solidify those potential gains. To try and make a case that this wasn't just a debate, that they were learning something new about Romney that was relevant and perhaps something new about Obama that was relevant. It’s the Obama campaign’s job to counter that and say hey look it was a debate, he had an off day,” said Sanders.