A presidential debate for the history books

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I must admit that I was worried about how Romney would perform in the debate and had low expectations. I was especially concerned about how he would tackle health care, given that Massachusetts had a similar plan while Romney was its governor.

But he knew his facts and was quick to point out that in order for the federal government to pick up the tab for more than 30 million uninsured and subsidize millions more, Obama used Medicare as his piggy bank, stripping the program of more than $716 billion.

Romney came out and showed America that he is a viable presidential candidate, and turned a race that many thought was over into a horse race.

The president certainly wasn’t at the top of his game. Was he tired? Did he miss his teleprompter? He didn’t even bring up Romney’s 47-percent comment. Or what about bragging about the stock market recovery? Even in the midst of chaos in Europe, the stock market has for the most part remained stable, with the Dow closing at over 13,000 for several weeks now.

Obama can only tell people that he is the champion of the middle class for so long. People aren’t doing better than they were four years ago, and they blame government. Even Vice President Biden reminded the American people that “the middle class has been buried these last four years.” It might have been another Biden “whoops,” but he’s right!

Investor’s Business Daily pointed out that since 2009, the middle 20 percent of Americans have seen their average income drop 4 percent. It fell 1.7 percent in 2011 alone. It gets worse for the poorest 20 percent in America, who, under the Obama administration, have lost 7 percent of their incomes since 2009.

Romney may have delivered the best debate performance since Ronald Reagan pounced on President Carter during their first debate, but the proof still remains in the pudding. If Obama doesn’t come better prepared and come out swinging in the second debate, I believe the undecided vote will sway in Romney’s favor and we may see an upset in November.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.

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