Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

William Astore Headshot

Who Really Won the First Presidential Debate

Posted: Updated:

Let's cut to the chase: President Obama won the first presidential debate. Why? Because he maintained his integrity. In the Air Force, our primary core value is "Integrity first." Just as integrity is "first" for the Air Force, so too must it be for the civilian commander-in-chief of our military.

By sacrificing his integrity, by misrepresenting his positions repeatedly to the American people, Governor Romney disqualified himself from America's highest office.

Claiming that Obama won the debate is contrary to what the pundits are saying. They're saying this because Romney exceeded their low expectations. He took the fight to the president, thereby reviving his moribund campaign.

But can you truly "win" a debate by having to lie repeatedly? What kind of a leader sacrifices integrity for the sake of expediency? Is that the kind of person we want as commander-in-chief?

I don't want a president who runs against himself and his own record. I don't want a leader who lacks integrity, no matter how forceful and animated he appears on television.

Give me Joe Friday and "Just the facts, ma'am" (no lies, please). Give me Harry Truman and "The buck stops here" (no ducking your own record, please). Give me a leader who tells the truth and who willingly takes responsibility for his or her positions and actions.

And by those measures, Romney lost and Obama won.

Astore writes regularly for and can be reached at

  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results
Register To Vote