Voters critical of both candidates after debate

Mitt Romney didn't offer enough details and President Barack Obama wasn't aggressive enough, according to voters MSN Money interviewed after the first debate.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 4, 2012 4:00PM

Image: US currency © Steve Allen, Brand X, CorbisBy Karen Aho, MSN Money


Voters tuning into Wednesday's presidential debate in search of policy details didn't necessarily come away satisfied, but in the end that may not even matter.


"It's perception," said Dan Sierra, a merchandise manager in Atlanta, who, as a result of the debate, now supports Romney. "You've got two people running to be the most powerful person in the world, and so much of it has little to do with the meat of the position."


Sierra was explaining his own reaction to the debate, which focused more on the candidates' behavior and stage presence than on their words. Sierra, 56, added that he won't read fact-checking articles later. "I'm not that obsessed."


"Romney, he really did outperform. He was comfortable, and aggressive but not mean," said Sierra. "From my perspective, I saw a guy who can get it done when he needs to."


This is just the kind of reaction that worries Matt Croteau, a real estate entrepreneur in New York City and a registered Democrat.


"A lot of people fall for these big promises that politicians make, but there's no details on how it's going to work," said Croteau, 37. "I wish Obama had pushed further and said, 'How are you going to actually do this? What are the details?'"


Croteau's income exceeds $250,000, but he supports eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

"I did well in small business," he said. "But at the same time, I understand that you have to have things in balance. . . . You have to make sure we're all taken care of and OK, rather than just giving entrepreneurs tax breaks and hoping they'll pass it down. I don't think that works."


But the nuances of trickle-down economics don't win elections, and it was Romney that won over voters in Wednesday's debate by repeating the word "jobs," said Croteau, who pointed out how CNN's instant-poll graph would spike favorably each time.


"I hope that Obama catches on to that and changes his rhetoric," Croteau said. "Because I know he's got a great attitude and mindset in what he wants to do for the country. I know he cares.


"However, that's not who wins the election. Who wins the election is who says what the people want to hear the most. Last time it was change. Now it's jobs."


Certainly the rhetoric worked for Sierra, who mentioned it immediately when asked about what the candidates said that impressed him.


"The thing I heard over and over and over was jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs," Sierra said. "And I think that's what the United States needs now, somebody to get people working and make that a priority."


Sean Van Anglen, a college student watching the debate with Romney campaign workers in New Hampshire, said Romney's performance electrified and energized the room.


"I think Mitt stuck to message, stuck on point, I think he really flustered Obama when he talked about the economy," said Van Anglen, 20.


"I think this is going to be a red state," he said of New Hampshire, a swing state that had Obama leading slightly in the polls before the debate. "It was like they got a shot of adrenalin for Romney tonight."


Van Anglen, a volunteer for state Republican leaders, also said the debate lacked the details he's been seeking, primarily regarding student loans. He'd like to hear from both candidates on how they're going to help college students get through school. Van Anglen, who admits he hasn't researched the candidates' positions yet, favors an increase in federal grants.


"I think the government should find a way to allocate a certain amount of money each fiscal year. I don't think that students should have to pay it back," he said. "The American dream is going to college, buying a house, raising a family."


While detailed proposals would likely not change Van Anglen's support for Romney, he said, other voters are watching with an eye on specific policy prescription.


Ed Dalton, 75, and his wife, Sharon, 61, watched the first of the three presidential debates from their home in Windham, N.H., eager for details about the Republican candidate's proposals to overhaul Medicare and Social Security.


"Romney is a good debater and he did well in the debate, but did he answer my questions? No," said Ed Dalton, a retired engineer in New Hampshire who calls himself an independent but has been voting Democratic recently.


Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have proposed a fixed, free-market payment plan for seniors on Medicare, and say they would raise the eligibility age for Social Security while capping growth rates for some recipients.


But exactly how Romney and Ryan would do this while preserving benefits and cutting program costs remains a mystery to the Daltons. The couple, who lost nearly all their 401k retirement savings when an investment went belly-up, will need to rely heavily on Social Security and Medicare after Sharon retires.


"I don't think Romney came up with any details on how he was going to preserve Medicare and Social Security," Ed Dalton said. "Romney covered his bases very well and didn't come out with the thing that he wants, privatization and vouchers."


"Nobody forced him to," chimed in his wife.


Whether such details matter to the undecided voters -- those who will decide the outcome of the election in key swing states -- is the question for November.

Oct 4, 2012 4:42PM
With more people working we will have more people paying taxes which will help the budget.
Oct 4, 2012 9:14PM
At this point I would vote for a picture of Ronald Reagan...
Oct 4, 2012 7:48PM

GREY GHOST:Your CHEVY VOLT really soured you on Obama.You should have read

the reviews before spending $45,000.Blame yourself.

Oct 4, 2012 7:43PM

MONTANA 10:If you hate this country so much just leave.I love this country.I travelled

all over when I was in the marines and I love this country.

Oct 4, 2012 7:59PM

MONTANA 10 AND WARAKSAS;We had names for guys like you when I was in the MARINES.

I won`t repeat.You should thank us for your freedoms, you sure don`t deserve it.

Oct 5, 2012 9:11PM

Hey unemployed and disgruntled Americans.  Your feelings of inpingement are not valid.  Your gut instinct and feelings are wrong.  The breath of fresh air at the podium was imaginary.  MSN says it's going to be OK Everyone, as long as we keep Obama in office.  America is on the right track! )
...............A separate government survey of companies and government agencies showed they added 114,000 jobs in September.  (here come the revised statistics from last month & the prior month)   And it turns out that 86,000 more jobs were added in July and August than the government had initially estimated. (funny how they are convenintly revised....?who publishes these?)

"An overall better-than-expected jobs report, consistent with most recent data that suggest the economy is gaining some momentum," said Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets. "The sizable drop in the unemployment rate could lift the president's re-election chances."

Stock prices rose on the news."....................(Everythings going to be OK .)

Oct 5, 2012 7:08PM

Ed Dalton, 

 Obama Said (Charlotte NC) "And I will — I will never turn Medicare into a voucher" But the very next day,** courtesy of some fine reporting by National Journal’s Margot-Sanger-Katz

 back in Washington, his Health and Human Services Department was launching a pilot program that would shift

of the poorest and most-vulnerable seniors out of the federal Medicare program and into private health insurance voucher plans overseen by the states. The administration has accepted applications from 18 states to participate in the program.

Bear in mind that Ryan’s plan made the vouchers optional; seniors could choose the traditional government-run Medicare plan or opt for a private insurance plan from a federal exchange of approved insurers. Ryan also allows all seniors to choose, and didn’t force the poorest seniors to take the voucher option.

All of us are in the same boat, that is what this is all about! If you dont care if our "rights" freedom of speech, ect are going to be gone soon, then keep on!


Oct 7, 2012 6:42AM
In summary Dr. , You have trouble recognizing facts.  No chance for them to be obscured or spun by the media.  Obama 4 Years &Nothing to show for it!   
Oct 4, 2012 7:45PM

WORKINGFULLTIME:With 30 straight months of job growth, if you don`t have a job

blame yourself.

Oct 4, 2012 10:06PM
You are the most incredibly biased media outlet.  Do you ever look out side to see what other people know?
Oct 5, 2012 6:26PM

Back in April of this year Barack Obama told the press that he "refused to extend the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy again."
But, he’s not a socialist.
Of course, it was just another lie.
We found the actual tax cut breakdown at CNN Money:
Bush tax cuts: $544.3 billion…The bulk of that cost - $463 billion - is for the extension of cuts for families making less than $250,000, including two years of relief for the middle class from the Alternative Minimum Tax.
85% of Bush Tax Cuts Went to Middle Class, Not the Rich

Oct 6, 2012 4:41PM
Saturday, October 6, 2012 12:20 PM


We are very fortunate to live in a Democratic society. Every four years we go through the this inexplicable, unnecessary political exercise called a “Presidential debate” This creates a personality, ideas problem, that later emanates in forms and facts, pointing that the whole exercise is full of human sociological flows where the contenders without signing any paper to unduly promised to adhere to the laws of honesty, truth, and highest levels of human relation, and decency embarked into this areas of unknown darkness. Lies, and un-factual virtues fuels psychological detrimental flow of human egotism, political gains of name, money, and  power, with no basic considerations, respect, care for the middle class and poor people that unaware listening to the lies, vulgarities, bully encounter, and ambiguities of the challenging parties, whomever  may win the in a final  vote the right to the White House by enacting profane laws will unduly harm millions of cities that not being able to understand, and intelligently separate the truth from the lies selected the wrong g party to guide, and rule the country. Wet got an extraordinary sample in the duel of Obama vs Romney, “Presidential debate”, on October 3, 2012 at 9.00 Pm .EST

The winners scored tellers, soon declared Romney the winner of the debate. Under what socio-political guidelines was the winner selected. The first stage of control for resolving the winner, is “How many in percent of the articulated political statements weighted against the regulatory fact sheet were considered to be factual, practical and honest” in this case a very large percent of articulated statements from Romney later were found to be lies!! So, here we go, we declared the winner the liar, with an open failure of honesty, and truth!! The second statement falls in the realm of highest level of human behavior. This consists in stating the facts, the advantages of their political position, and leave to be a bully, or demanding, or defamatory out of the encounter. Unfortunately Romney fails these second criteria by pushing his weight and wishes over the Moderator and by consistently demerits the opponent with lies!! The last and third failure, Romney presented many lies to an audience of over sixty million viewers; this is again is a failure of honesty, truth, and abuse of the highest levels of human relations, because he contradicted himself from previous political plans in the total plan to serve his people of the USA. Finally a winner was named, that by no means it was a winner, and the whole of USA citizens, their mind has been smeared with untruth, till the confused citizen may select the wrong/right leader in the White House! For all the rest of the USA, the ways of selecting a winner from a “Presidential debate” will have no meaning until the laws of truth and decency are respected by the contenders signing the proper ‘Honesty declarations” !!

Oct 4, 2012 7:29PM
Isn't it ironic for dems to whine about details of Romney's plans, when all Obama had in 2008 was "Hope and Change" ? We still, after four years don't know what the details are of Obama's 2008 "Hope and Change" bs. Well except for spending other people's money.
Oct 4, 2012 7:44PM






Oct 4, 2012 5:00PM

We - and the world - have a population with a trend line that remains very postive. We have scientists and engineers that create, invent, and develop ever more ways in which the need for humans to "work" is eliminated. But we keep pretending its 1500 (B.C.) and you have to "work" to feed your face, and you die if you don't.


More and more people: Less and less "work" to do.


What's wrong with this picture?

Oct 4, 2012 6:51PM

We watch the whole debate Obama vs Rommey and we are so pissed that the whole family is eating fire. There’s this maniac of Romney, pounding minute, after minute on Obama, and Obama acting like he was in another world. But ask yourself, if you were ask to debate a liar, a weekly mind charger, a person that if in front of your face tries to sell you a bunch of goof balls, will you bother to debate him? We are hard core Democrats, we have a good education, and we are not in political business, but if Romney delivered a paradox of lies to the sixty millions American people watching the debate, and fails to honestly deliver a complete assessment of the specifics of the hogwash plans he wants to do to do if he takes charge of the White house, each specific we want to know he did not delivered, and right on the spot changes his mind, and vocalizes his political plans completely opposite of what he been preaching many months before, and with malice keeps a perpetual verbal assault against you (Obama), with intent to keep his lies alive with the sole purpose of demoralizing us ( Obama), we will turn around and use the same size stick to defend ourselves. We do not believe what we saw; we think that perhaps Obama was told to play cool, and to let the monster of Romney talk to expose all his hidden nasty things he proposed to do to all of us if he gets to get the White House, but our advice to Mr. Obama, is “Next time you fight!” You make this guy eat dust, exposed completely all his lies, and distorted political wishes he wants to do us if by a lousy chance he becomes president. Stop playing it cool, you look like you have no blood, wake-up Mr. President and fight for all of the democrats that given you support, and the best in political effort! We know next time you will stop being nice, and hit back!

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