I spent an evening recently watching a focus group — a moderated conversation about the election and Social Security with 30 undecided voters. For those of us in Washington, D.C., who are around policy and politics all the time, it’s very helpful to hear what “real people” think. The group included men and women, from young adults voting in just their second presidential election to older voters who have witnessed a lifetime of political promises.
President Obama and Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger in the 2012 presidential election, met tonight for the second of three debates, but three issues of critical importance to older Americans - Medicare, Social Security and the new health care law - earned only scant mentions.
"Let's talk about Medicare and entitlements. Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process. Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive? " - Martha Raddatz, vice presidential debate, Oct. 11, 2012
With President Obama holding a narrow lead in the polls and looking to close the sale, and challenger Mitt Romney searching for a game-changing big play, the stakes in this year's presidential debates are probably even higher than usual. The initial debate, which will focus on domestic policy, takes place on Wednesday at 9 p.m. (Eastern Time) in Denver, with PBS NewsHour host Jim Lehrer moderating. From PBS, here's a preview of the debate.
As a lifelong political junkie, I'm looking forward to next week's presidential debates like a sports fan looks forward to a playoff game. Now that I'm in my 50s, watching the televised debates won't be quite the party occasion that it might have been 30-odd years ago, when friends and I would liven things up by taking a swig of beer every time one of the candidates mentioned the word "jobs" or "taxes." Still, it should be fun to see President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney really face off on the issues - instead of just attacking each other in stump speeches and campaign ads.
Don't forget that tonight Senators Obama and McCain will face-off in a townhall-style debate tonight! You can check your local listings for times and stations that will be carrying the event.
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