Skip to main content

Before the debate, iReporters square off

By Henry Hanks, CNN
updated 10:00 AM EDT, Wed October 3, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two iReporters who attended political conventions debated on Google Plus
  • Omekonga Dibinga, for Obama, said the president and Americans agree on many issues
  • Alex Anderson, for Romney, said the GOP nominee has shown he can get things done

(CNN) -- Call it the debate before the debates.

In this corner: Alex Anderson, a college student in Hillsdale, Michigan, pulling for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

In that corner: Omekongo Dibinga, a longtime iReporter from Washington and a supporter of President Barack Obama.

Both had a chance to see their candidates' political conventions, as winners of the Your Political Ticket iReport contest. With that experience behind them, we asked them to go head to head on Google+ previewing Wednesday's first presidential debate.

They are two of hundreds of iReporters who have added their views to the iReport debate, an eight-month project that invites voters to make their voices heard this election season.

What to watch in tonight's debate

Obama, Romney prep debate face-off
Debate body language speaks volumes
Comebacks, zingers can impact debates
Michelle Obama: Debates make me nervous

We came away with three main points from the conversation, some of which you can see in the video above.

1. How important is a 'personal connection?'

"The biggest plus [Obama] has over Romney are the social issues," said Dibinga.

"When you look at issues such as immigration and his educational stances, it seems to me that President Obama is in line with the majority of Americans."

Anderson said that the president may be able to connect personally with Americans on certain issues and in speeches, but rhetoric and action are two different things. "Through his time at Bain Capital, with the Olympics and his time as governor [of Massachusetts, Romney] had results from his actions.

Candidates 'tics,' actions matter in debates

2. Weighing the past versus the future

Anderson echoed Romney's contention that Obama has not left Americans better off than four years ago.

He said that Romney has laid out incentives as to what would happen under his presidency, and portrayed Obama as saying that Americans should "ignore" the past four years.

Dibinga said that Obama can't tout unemployment in this country as long as it's over 8%, but at the same time, Romney cannot point to his record as governor.

"Some things [he did] such as health care are similar to President Obama. Romney will increase our issues as to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer; setting women's rights back; and setting education back."

3. Debate the big picture

Anderson hoped the debates will help paint a better picture of each candidate's plan for America.

He also hoped that "small things" like "tax returns and birth certificates" would not dominate the debates.

On this point, Dibinga agreed.

"No cheap shots. Romney and Obama have very different views on where the country should go. The issues are strong enough for Americans to decide for themselves."

Watch the video and let us know who won the debate by commenting below, and share your question for the candidates here, and check out the top questions other iReporters want answered.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Debates 2012
Your complete guide to the 2012 presidential debates.
updated 8:13 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
The final presidential debate proved to be a substantive discussion on the nation's major issues as both candidates tried to persuade the small sliver of undecideds to vote for them.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
The presidential face off on foreign policy was geared to sway U.S. voters, on issues from Libya to Pakistan to China. Netizens, analysts and activists tuned in and weighed in.
updated 7:48 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
President Barack Obama headed into the final debate of the 2012 campaign with the biggest advantage of all: he's already commander-in-chief.
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
Three debates down and two weeks of campaigning to go.
updated 7:29 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
The rapid-fire commentary on Twitter turned what could have been dry television into deeply entertaining multi-screen experiences.
updated 8:13 AM EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
Pres. Obama and candidate Mitt Romney debate a range of topics on foreign policy in the third presidential debate.
updated 10:57 PM EDT, Mon October 22, 2012
Moderator Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and has been the host of "Face the Nation" since 1991.
updated 11:54 PM EDT, Mon October 22, 2012
Tom Foreman looks at claims Obama and Romney made about Iran and the country's threatening nuclear capacities.
updated 5:47 PM EDT, Mon October 22, 2012
The flagging economy has been the clear-cut No. 1 issue for this year's presidential race.
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon October 22, 2012
Three days before Election Day in 2008, John McCain, behind in the polls, guest-starred on "Saturday Night Live."
updated 10:15 AM EDT, Wed October 17, 2012
While Obama and Romney were responding to questions from uncommitted voters at a town hall-style debate, they found plenty of opportunities to attack each other.
updated 11:03 AM EDT, Sat October 13, 2012
Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan exchanged fire over taxes, Medicare, national security and some animated facial expressions in their only debate.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Thu October 4, 2012
By most accounts, Republican challenger Mitt Romney was the clear winner of his first debate with President Barack Obama.
What questions would you like to ask the candidates? Share a short video question.
ADVERTISEMENT