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Who Won the Presidential Debate?

Doug Roberts, chief investment strategist at

"What I think people are really looking for right now is, you know, most futures are a little bit up ... they were up moderately, but at this point I think people are factoring in more than anything else is, they're factoring in a presidential re-election based on the polls. I don't think there was anything earth-changing in this debate that really changed the current trend. ... More likely the debate was a draw. ... I think basically the president was able to hit more emotional buttons, at the same time the governor had a pretty good command on facts. ... Right now it's almost like the president just has to maintain the status quo and avoid making a mistake, whereas Gov. Romney has to do two things: avoid making a mistake, and also he has to basically ... has to radically change the game. So at that point, [Romney] didn't really score either of those two things. In terms of economically, their all kind of speaking what I call talking points."

Maegan Stephens, doctoral candidate in political communications at the University of Texas at Austin:

"My first impression was, wow, they really can't follow rules about time, they just have an inability to shorten their responses and listen when a moderator tells them they only have two minutes to speak. ... My second impression was that Romney really came out with some more personality; I mean if I had to give a speaker award in that debate it's going to Romney for sure. He was engaging, and dynamic, and forceful, and I think a side of him we generally don't see in a lot of his speeches or even media events ... and to compare that to Obama who seemed sort of defensive and, oh I hate to say it, lackluster. Even in the first five or 10 minutes I was thinking, 'Is he going to turn it on?' and it never really seemed to get there. ... The third impression was content based. They both needed to do a lot more with specifics. ... I feel like Obama had a lot of opportunities to ask for specifics in Romney's plan, and while he vaguely mentioned there was a lack of specifics, he didn't say 'So give me something, I'm not responding until you give me an answer.' ... Stylistically, absolutely [Romney gave a stellar performance.] Content-wise, I'd have to say no, because I didn't [hear] specifics."
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