10/07/2012 11:27 am ET Updated Dec 07, 2012

Who Really Won the First Presidential Debate

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