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First debate marked by insincerity, half-truths

Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012

Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 14:10

The candidates walked on stage in sharply-tailored suits, one with a bright red tie symbolic of his party, the other blue, symbolic of his. Each had a patriotic American flag pinned to his lapel and a matching all-American toothy grin as they shook each others’ hands for just a second too long.

The function of a debate should be to hash out ideas and allow voters to listen to what solutions they would like to see implemented in the country.

But as former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama paraded the stories about babies they met along their campaign trails and people who have lost jobs, no matter how hard they tried to prove they had more true concern for America, little rang genuine about the debate as each candidate pandered to their own delegate bases, cherry-picking facts and accomplishing little.

Romney spoke of Obama’s cutting $716 million to Medicare to “pay for Obamacare,” the Affordable Care Act, which in reality, does make some changes to Medicare but does not actually affect the benefits Medicare recipients as Romney claimed, according to the Los Angeles Times and Politifact. Romney stated that under Obama, there are 23 million unemployed Americans, when according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 12.5 million unemployed, 8 million working part-time jobs and 2.5 million who have stopped looking for jobs.

Though Romney tried to prove his firm grasp on details, lavishing on Dodd-Frank related issues, his grasp on reality was quite loose.

But the president was not much better.

Obama spoke of a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan — something that would need to be implemented over 10 years, according to Politifact, though the timeline was never mentioned. Obama also conveniently ignored many of the promises he has yet to fulfill from his 2008 campaign.

Democracy Now!, an independent news outlet, streamed the debate online and allowed third party candidates Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party airtime. Perhaps the public can expect the truth they deserve to hear from the candidates who aren’t on air.

But after the cameras remained rolling and the candidates stepped off their lecterns, they were once again all giggles and grins, patting shoulders and fraternizing peaceably, despite the charged language they used minutes earlier.

While the candidates go back to the comforts of their cushy lifestyles, ready to spin more webs of confusion at the next debate, almost 50 million Americans live in poverty, according to National Public Radio, and await solutions from candidates who can offer them a glimpse of something more than the alternate reality the candidates appear to live in.

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