Tampa Mayor Buckhorn to cheer President Obama in first presidential debate

10/02/12 Janelle Irwin
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President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney will debate for the first time this election year Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Denver, Colorado. At a press conference Tuesday morning at the Obama campaign office in Tampa, Mayor Bob Buckhorn encouraged people to watch the debate – especially those who don’t know much about the presidential candidates.

“This will be the first major exposure that they have had to these two candidates standing toe to toe with each other and they will get to hear the very different perspectives that each candidates have for this country.”

Buckhorn, who has endorsed President Obama, will be cheering him on from a watch party. He said debates are an opportunity for voters to see how candidates respond to questions and to each other, but people should be weary of mudslinging.

“If this gets into a name calling circumstance or just one liner after one liner, I think that is to the detriment of that candidate.”

Tampa’s mayor worked on the Bill Clinton campaign in Hillsborough County in 1996. Since then the area has flip-flopped in its voting patterns with Clinton winning the county followed by two consecutive Bush wins and then Obama in 2008. In each of those instances, the winner of Hillsborough County won the presidency.

“I think as Tampa goes, so goes the I-4 corridor, as the I-4 corridor goes, so goes the state of Florida and as Florida goes, so goes the nation. If Governor Romney doesn’t win Florida, it’s game over.”

Buckhorn was joined by Florida Representative Janet Cruz in supporting President Obama. Cruz is a longtime Latino advocate. She said a Romney presidency would be bad for minority groups who are often saddled with financial woes.

“Mitt Romney’s record for the middle class families is abysmal. As a corporate buy out specialist, Mitt Romney’s job was to make money for investors often at the devastation of middle class families and entire communities.”

WMNF’s coverage of the debates will be on our hd3 channel.

The debate is hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates, or CPD. The corporate funded, private entity was started by the Democratic and Republican Parties and has been running presidential debates since replacing the League of Women Voters in 1987. No third-party candidates have been able to participate since 1992. According to Politico, Phillips Electronics has pulled its support of this year’s debates saying they didn’t want to endorse partisanship.

Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman will give the Green Party’s Presidential nominee Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson from the Justice Party a chance to respond to some of the questions on their website Wednesday from 8:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

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