Don’t say this campaign lacks substance: in the first presidential debate Wednesday night, President Obama and Mitt Romney dug deep into the specifics of their clashing views on taxes, the federal budget, and economic growth. Obama referred to Romney’s vision as “top-down economic policies,” and Romney coined the phrase “trickle-down government” to describe the incumbent’s four years in office. Though the encounter was sober and almost totally free of ad-hominem bickering, Romney was widely believed to have bested the president by speaking clearly and responding aggressively, taking command of the discussion and smoothing over the more controversial aspects of his record. Obama, by contrast, looked down at his lectern, seemed to take notes, and gave responses that were punctuated with hesitations.
WONKY Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo