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January 27, 2015

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What about all the Western issues ignored in the first presidential debate?



President Barack Obama, right, listens to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during their first presidential debate at the University of Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012.

Presidential Debate: Oct. 3, 2012

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama talk after their first presidential debate at the University of Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Though President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney got down deep in the weeds on taxes and health care in last week’s debate, some viewers -- especially in the West -- may have been left with the impression that they skipped over more than they addressed.

The only presidential debate solely focused on domestic policy featured no discussion of immigration or the courts and only passing mention of the housing crisis. Sure, they frequently mentioned education (usually preceded by the lead-in “I care about” or “I want to invest in”) but offered few details of anything resembling a plan.

In one sense, that shouldn’t matter too much, as the debates are really the election’s final home stretch, when the candidates are simply trying to drive home the messages they’ve spent the better part of the last year framing.

But as we’ve seen in the last week, sometimes the candidates can clarify or change their positions, even close to the election. And in swing states such as Nevada, new revelations on subjects that hit close to home could potentially sway undecided voters in decisive ways.

For instance, on immigration: Nevada’s electorate is 14 percent Latino. While Latino voters don’t rank immigration as a top issue, according to polls, they tend to consider a candidate’s stance on the issues as a potential dealbreaker.

Forty-eight hours before the debate, Romney revealed to the Denver Post that he would honor Obama’s pledge to undocumented youths if elected president. This summer, Obama instituted two-year deferments of deportation proceedings and authorized work permits for young people who entered the U.S. before age 16 and enrolled in college or the military.

But that topic didn’t come up in Wednesday night’s debate.

In the same interview with the Denver Post, Romney also said that he was considering capping itemized income tax deductions at $17,000, a threshold that could adversely affect certain middle class families accustomed to being exempted from taxes on employer-provided health care and their mortgage interest.

During the debate, Romney started tossing around different numbers -- $25,000 and $50,000 -- much higher caps that would likely only adversely affect the wealthy. But neither he nor Obama were pressed to clarify their positions on health care or mortgage interest deductions, so we still don’t know exactly where they stand on this issue -- and probably won’t until one or the other is elected.

Yet that’s the kind of stuff that could affect Nevadans’ bottom line, whether they’re filling out their tax returns, or just hoping to restore the value of their home-- and for the undecided voter not being swayed by the war of words over “Obamacare,” “Big Oil” or the 47 percent of Americans Romney recently suggested are self-pitying government freeloaders. Oh wait: That 47 percent thing is another late-breaking twist they forgot to mention at the debate (and the Democrats are frustrated with Obama for the omission).

It is hard to address everyone’s niche issue in the 90 minutes allowed each time these candidates face off. But there’s a reason the debates started in the West: Because with Colorado and Nevada among the small handful of swing states at the center of this contest, the West is likely where the elections are going to end.

For that reason alone, the candidates might be well served by discussing some of these other domestic issues that directly affect Nevada in the next debate.

That faceoff is Oct. 16 and focuses on domestic and foreign policy. Let’s see -- that means they still have 45 minutes to do it.

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  1. NVFisherman:

    Last I looked, there are 49 other States in this Country. Why should Nevada be singled out for extra attention? What makes it so special? It is up to the politicians of Nevada to help your State, not the federal government. Get on THEIR case. Maybe then you can get some "attention" from the federal government no matter who is president.

    BTW - You think Romney is going to be "helping" Nevada? If you do, you are naieve.

  2. Electorate 14% Latino but 40% of K-12 is Hispanic? We MUST do something about illegals. We cannot afford ANY form of amnesty. 12% and gaining of our employees are illegals. They have lots of kids. We must expel them back.

  3. California is bankrupt, insolvent.... Nevada keeps doing what California has done. Nevada will be bankrupt, insolvent, unable to increase taxes to pay for soooo many illegals and soooo much social welfare.

  4. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  5. Karoun Demirjian - It would appear that you have "axe to grind" over what you call "Western " issues is not discussed. Well, you should remember that the candidates DID NOT PICK the topics to be discussed. The moderator did.

    2. As for covering everything you write about, the candidates continued talking for 90 minutes - eliminating the breaks that were scheduled every 15 minutes. So, if the candidates did not cover some subjects you are interested in - it was not their fault. The clock rules.

    3. You say, "...the candidates are simply trying to drive home the messages they've spent the better part of the last year framing..."

    I have a NEWS FLASH flash for you. It is true that the candidates have been trying to state their messages for almost a year - BUT THIS DEBATE was ROMNEY's FIRST OPPORTUNITY to talk on TV to 67 million people -- and what he said got their attention!

    So, VISIBILITY is the answer to getting the message out, and a TV DEBATE is the only way to do that. The RESPONSE from "both sides of the political spectrum" - THAT VERY NIGHT - was overwhelming, and in favor of Mitt Romney.

    Perhaps you saw Chris Matthews (MSNBC), YELLING at the TV as he talked about Mitt Romney - and complaining that: "HE's WINNING!" His anger shows a profound indication as to WHO WON THE DEBATE. And it is BECAUSE - IN CASE YOU MISSED IT - Romney COVERED EVERY QUESTION AND ISSUE COMPLETELY (or at least as good as anyone could in 90 minutes).

    4. Mitt Romney DID present an overview of his PLANS. He did this with his five-points overview, and on every other subject - with at least 3 discussion points. SO, one might say you did not listen to what was said during the debate, so maybe you didn't catch that part.

    5. I don't know what you expected to happen in 90 minutes - as governed by a moderator - but I think the debate went well, and apparently, a majority of the Republicans, Independents, AND Democrats (out of the 67 million people watching) - agreed that Romney explained his points well, and Obama did not rise to the occasion.

    Your article sounds more like a disgruntled editorial or opinon column - rather than a NEWS STORY of what happened during the debate, which it what it is supposed to be.

    And, by the way, almost every news writer SAID the debate was very good, and Romney WON - basically, because Obama did not say anything to support his "record." Romney also garnered great enthusiam from ADDED voters the next day - as show by increased interest in the plans he talked about, and ADDED contributions to his campaign.

    This was the big moment Romney has been waiting for.

  6. The rust belt swing states are getting all the attention..and that is a good thing. We have been spared (mostly) the ads, the phone calls ...
    I don't think the ground game is being ignored at all. And if no one is paying attention to the West, I think that is Romney's strategy
    Romney can spend his money low key..ground game in the West while feignting Obama into spending all of his time and energy in the East..Ohio and Florida are not the entire 48!
    There is a lack of polling in the West..I think Villiagarosa won the mayoral election with a 14% turnout of voters in Los Angeles..That kind of turnout is ripe for ground level organizing..

  7. Bob Realist,

    When was the last time your name was on any ballot for any elected office for the people of this Great State to vote for you or your ideas?

    If your plan has merit, pay Ten bucks, get your own web site and post it for the world to see in full detail.

    If there really is something to it then the press and the pubic will take notice. All we see week after week is you spouting your plan here and it seems to gain ZERO interest. One million jobs at no cost? I am calling B.S. EVERYTHING costs someone and since all money belongs to tax payers we will be paying for it.

  8. You really want "our help" than do as I requested. Spend $10, put it on a domain on the open Internet for all to see.

    If it has any real merit than the public will get behind you. If not, it will be exposed for what it is either way.

    If I read your statement correctly, you once again want the government to tell people what they can eat?

    While I don't agree with how programs are handled there are limits to what this government should be doing. Who gets to be the judge of what is "Junk Food?"

  9. And what about Bob's 15% plan?