The Washington Post

Obama-Romney presidential debate: Think tanks react

Wednesday night’s first presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney was live-blogged or live-tweeted by almost every think tank. The depth of the commentary ranged from appearance to proposal. After a little time to process, think tank experts are weighing in with analysis beyond 140 characters. 

Brookings Institution’s Bill Galston aptly points out that it doesn’t matter what pundits have to say about the debate–it matters what voters think. But the bottom line: “I think Romney did himself considerable good during the first debate. I would not be surprised to learn that a majority of the American people think he won it outright. At the very least, he vastly exceeded expectations. I suspect that over the next week, the public opinion surveys will show a significantly narrowing of the gap between President Obama and his reenergized challenger.” 

“The media elites are surprised and disappointed by President Obama’s debate performance last night. They are partly to blame. If they had spent the past four years challenging the president as aggressively as they did his predecessors, he would have been far better prepared to defend his record and respond to criticism,” writes Cato’s Andrew Coulson

Six Heritage Foundation experts weigh in on tax plans, education, Medicare, the role of government and what we didn’t hear Wednesday night. 

“Just a year ago, Occupy Wall Street commanded attention from the media and politicians alike. Yet last night the central concern of that social movement — one shared by a majority of Americans — wasn’t even mentioned as both candidates and the moderator ducked the problem of economic inequality,” as Demos’ David Callahan points out

Diana Furchtgott-Roth discusses green jobs, reiterating Mitt Romney’s claim that the amount of money that President Obama has wasted on green jobs programs could have hired two million teachers.

AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt says Obama couldn’t handle the entitlements issue. 

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He freelances and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.
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