The ratings are in and they’re the highest number of viewers for a first debate since 1980. That year, the only debate between President Carter and Ronald Reagan drew 80 million viewers.

Report from the New York Times:

The first of three presidential debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney reached more than 70 million viewers on Wednesday night.

Nielsen, a television measurement company, said 67.2 million viewers watched on television at home — the highest number for a first debate since 1980. That year, 80.6 million watched the only debate between President Jimmy Carter and the Republican presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan.

A few second- and third-round presidential debates since then have attracted more than 67 million viewers, including the second debate of the 1992 cycle. Nonetheless, Wednesday’s totals were surprisingly high by almost any standard.

About 52.4 million viewers tuned into the first debate in 2008, according to Nielsen, though that debate was held on a Friday night, typically a lower-rated night of the week. About 62.5 million viewers tuned into the first debate in 2004, which similarly featured an incumbent president and a challenger.

That is a very large number which the Romney campaign has to be pleased with given this was the first time many Americans were being introduced to the former Massachusetts Governor.

46 COMMENTS

  1. We already knew there would be a big number of eyeballs. No news there. But this weekend’s polls will tell how much the debate mattered.

      • No it isn’t! In fact, Romney has the same creepy looks in his eyes, same body language as scientologist Tom Cruise but he’s Ugly… go figure. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into with Romney but he looks like a secondhand Donald Trump… his smiles, his promises… its all fake. Beware.

        • What the hell…? I think you’re confusing Hollywood with reality. If you’re going to post on a political page, please have something relevant to say so you don’t sound like an idiot.

        • Yeah who cares about the fate of our country, the employment of millions of Americans, and potential terrorism threats. I’ll vote for Obama simply because i find him attractive…

    • We are electing a Colander in Chief…not a Pretty-Boy-In chief –but I can tell by your name…you would not vote Conservative who ever was running!!!

    • Romney is ugly? HA! Obama looked like an OLD man, and hes younger then Romney. But, who ever thinks he’s good looking and will vote for him because of that, have at it, because that is the only thing he may have going for him.

  2. People are not engaged with the goings on of our nation. So, I believe most do not or did not know of Romney. But, I do believe that most feel by observance that something is not right with this great country…so much so they tuned in. They were relieved (I believe)that there was an alternative. The choice is stark. Romney will win because most want opportunity and freedom back.

    • … and in 2008 you were absolutely sure McCain would win!
      Some folks must loooove dissapointments, ah well

      • Yeah right after Bush did such a great job turning peace into war and a surplus into debt. But as I often posted for some people the worse you treat them the better they like you.

  3. The other parties running for President should be included in the debates. A lot of the public is unaware there are options other than Romney and Obama, and they should be given equal air time to debate and let the public know where they stand. If this were truly a democracy all parties would be included in the debates.

    • Natasha: We discussed that on another thread. The debate commission is controlled by an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. They decided that a candidate would ALREADY have to have 15% rating in the polls to be included in the debates. BUT the debates are where a third-party candidate could really get some traction. So we have agreed on here that as soon as someone is on enough state ballots to reach the 270 electoral college number, he or she should be automatically included in the debates.

      But of course, the Rep-Dem commission is in control.

      Someone suggested that one of the media ought to invite a third-party candidate to THEIR studio, and time-delay the two-party candidates so that the third party candidate could add his or her response, so that it would seem that the candidate was being included.

      Trouble is, Fox cheers for the Republican, MSNBC cheers for the Democrat, and the rest of them don’t want to disrupt the “horse race” that makes them so much money.

  4. Mike: I think you’re wrong on two counts. First, MOST people are not like you and I. If you had asked them who was running last spring, most people would have given you the same answer, “I don’t care.” They figured they’d wait until the nominee was chosen. So most didn’t watch before. And if they remember his muddled run in 2008, it was eminently forgettable.

    As for the rest of us, nobody saw THIS Romney before. In the spring debates, he played it safe, since he knew he had the nomination purchased. But this time, he was (a) aggressive, and (b) assertive.

    (Meanwhile, Obama had prepped for a Romney who would be trying to prove how human and loveable he was.)

    If he doesn’t get a big bounce from his performance on Wednesday, he doesn’t have a chance next month.

    • GB is defending a statement in my post. This has made my Friday. Those of us cocooned in the world of politics take it for granted that everyone knows who the Speaker of the House is. They often do not.

    • Mitt Romney promised to bring his experience from the corporate boardroom to Massachusetts—the same promise he’s making now as a presidential candidate. But Romney economics didn’t produce then—and it won’t now.

      Stagnant job growth: During Governor Romney’s term, Massachusetts fell from 36th to 47th out of 50 states in job creation, while the overall U.S. economy grew.
      Declining manufacturing: By the end of Governor Romney’s term, Massachusetts had lost more than 40,000 manufacturing jobs—a rate twice the national average.
      Higher taxes: Gov. Romney raised taxes on the middle class, but pushed through a tax cut that overwhelmingly benefited 278 of the wealthiest individuals in MA.
      Highest debt in the nation: Under Mitt Romney, Massachusetts’ debt burden grew to the highest per person in the nation.
      Increased government spending: State spending increased every year while Romney was in office, and he left behind a $1 billion deficit for the next governor.
      Jobs outsourced overseas: Governor Romney failed to protect good jobs in Massachusetts, and actually outsourced state jobs to India.

  5. The biggest concern is the next three debates will be run by MainStreamMedia and as a result will coddle and liberal question BO and shut down Romney. The questions asked by “independents????” will be salted by liberals. Romney will be defending his party and himself the whole time. Hardest for Obama is BO cannot express his true feeling and ideology. BO is a Socialist Muslim and cannot reveal that face to the uniformed public.

    • Some years ago Viacom chair Sumner Redstone echoed the thoughts of the mainstream/corporate media when he said that, while lots of money could be made under Democratic leadership and rules, they could make MUCH more with the more corporate-friendly GOP, so that’s where they would throw their support. Statistics show that they have.

      Rmoney SHOULD defend the Republicons after what they’ve done to this emerging third-world nation. Let’s start with the fact that Eisenhower was the last legitimately elected Republican President.

      Nixon committed treason blowing up the peace deal that LBJ had brokered between North and South Vietnam effectively doubling not only the duration of the war but also the number of casualties and fatalities of American troops.

      Reagan committed treason by negotiating with the terrorists in Iran that held Americans hostage; promising Iran supplies for their aging American equipment and armament in violation of the existing embargo. William Casey and GHWB were part of that negotiating team, although Bush only went once.

      GHWB’s role in the aforementioned affair was compounded by his role in Iran-Contra.

      Aside from the shrub’s desertion from the Texas Air National Guard, there’s the vote in Florida not only being skewed by the machinations of Katherine Harris and the rest, we also have SCOTUS ADMITTING that they were violating the Constitution by inserting themselves is a STATE, not federal, matter in giving the Florida vote to the shrub then saying not to ask this of them ever again.

      Then there’s your repetition of the oft-repeated lies of Obama being a Socialist (the Socialist Party of America says you’re a liar) and a Muslim (absolutely NO proof whatsoever).

      Then of course there’s the Republicon cabal that met DURING Obama’s inauguration to plot treason and do everything possible to thwart and economic (or any other kind of) success. Two years later Sen. McConnell reiterated this stance when he said the the SINGLE MOST important goal of the party of Guile, Oligarchy and Plutonomy was to deny Obama a second term. While this does not give aid and comfort to the enemy the way that Nixon, Reagan and Bush I did, it still meets my criterion of treason due to their deliberate and willful harm to America and her citizenry and ANYONE who votes for these bastards is ALSO guilty of treason.

      • Yea and there are these little green aliens that abducted Clinton and forced him to sign the republicans bill that was sent to him to reform welfare!!! Get a life dude! I knew there were people like you out there, but it’s still hilarious to read this crap!!! The bitterness is oozing from this junk that you wrote!!!

  6. Someone said they heard that there was going to be a debate including Libertarian Gary Johnson. Perhaps it was the mini-debate between Gary and Green Jill Stein. It was on NPR Saturday. They agreed on a surprising number of matters. It would have been interesting if they had been on the stage with the major candidates. They would have brought in much more serious topics.

    Also on Saturday night, Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart have their “Rumble in the air conditioned auditorium,” an online debate–although I have heard that O’Reilly set it up as a charity event, so they may not go after each other that hard. That would be sad. . .

    Starts at 8pm:
    http://www.therumble2012.com/index.html

  7. OBAMA playing Rope A Dope, like a 3rd boxing match,1st round rope a dope make your rival show his hand, make him think he is winning, watch his foot work, provoke him.
    3rd round, OBAMA RAGE, talk straight to the people=camera, not even look for Romney, Obama wins, not earns,a TKO on Romney. Obama has no record to stand on,no way to earn, NDAA, Drone kills, Kill List, Military suicides and rapes are Sky High, Stop & FRISK, 60,000 dead Mexicans since 2006,Fast & Furious, OBAMA has NO record to stand on, therefore waits For Romney to make mistakes and take advantage of that. SHAME on both of them

    • Peter Knopfler —

      Two puppets on the same string…which will win, which will win….?

      (like it makes a difference)

  8. Off the cuff…

    Has anyone noticed the Barack creature looks more and more like a chimpanzee, and that the Mitt creature like an addition to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum…?

    Just a question….

  9. Let not our votes be reduced again to Voting for the lesser of two evils, because the winner will still be Evil.

    Reject the Barrack and the Mitt — do not vote for either creature, each bent on putting the final nail on the coffin of what used to be FREE AMERICA!

    Look to Ron Paul (or Gary Johnson) — or suffer the ignorance of your actions…!

  10. I saw whole debate on youtube. I must say that Romney got really the fire and Obama was much in trouble. Sad that Americans don’t want Ron Paul for president, the philosopher on throne…

  11. I have a Question:
    My Name is Jeffrey Alan Todd; I live in Clearwater, Florida (as this place is referred to).
    My Question is concerning the Value of the Dollar. The Value of the dollar practically based on the GNP, GDP, Perceived Economic Strength, Perceived Size of the Economy, Countries Perceived Standard of Living (partially based on consumption). With the Demand that Consumption brings; creating Wages.
    The moneys value; based on these and Other factors, is exchanged worldwide accordingly, also. Though in this land we give away ‘Gift Cards;’ and use them to Inflate the Value of the Dollar, Yes. For many gift cards are actually given away (Billions per yer; Trillions over the Decades). These benign ‘Credits’ enter the GDP, GNP, Perceived Economic Strength, Perceived Size of the Economy and Countries Perceived Standard of Living disguised as Dollars; increasing the ‘Consumption’ and therefore the ‘Demand’ and the ‘Production;’ and again, ultimately the value of the Dollar. Therefore; the Dollar is over inflated; and has been being “Fed.” this way for Decades now.
    Creating a false illusion is Deceptive and Subversive to those who are victim to the Exchange on the Market.
    “And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beast say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.”
    I Am curious about this One. Will someone help me; Please.
    Jeffrey

    • Jeffrey: I am not an economist, but you bring up an interesting issue.

      But it is not the consumer who is inflating. In fact, the consumer is just giving a symbol of value–exactly the same as if he gave a $20 bill, to be cashed later.

      But I do see that the merchant is inflating our money supply by “Printing” a type of currency, which we hold, while the merchant collects and spends an equal amount of real money, while delaying delivery.

      Of course, some of these cards will be lost, so that amount will never effect the money supply. And eventually, theoretically, it will settle out, as cards are redeemed.

      HOWEVER, they keep printing them, so the difference between the amount printed will always be higher than the amount redeemed, so yes, merchants have inflated our money supply by that constant.

  12. Found Mitt to be an obnoxious liar. He moved so far from the right for that debate, he sounded like a democrat on what he’ll do for the middle class.
    If elected, how would Mitt run his presidency when a democratic senator says his job is to make him a one term president and a congress who denies him everything?

    • Voting for the lesser of two evils, still gets you evil.

      Has anyone noticed the Barack creature looks more and more like a chimpanzee, and the Mitt creature like a statue in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum…and that both are liars and cheats that hate Free Americans!

      So, are you going to vote for Plastic Man or Monkey Boy…hoping whichever one of these evils “wins” will destroy our Free Nation at a slower pace…?
      ————————————————————————–

      Or, are you going to take a stand against these two anti-American subhumans, and vote your conscience instead!

      Gary Johnson is THE ONLY ONE TO GET YOUR VOTE — if you are a Real American and want to save our Nation!

  13. AS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN I WANT TO FULLY EXERSIZE MY VOTING RIGHTS WITHOUT THE PATERINALISTIC AND MONOPOLISTIC TWO PARTY SYTEM THAT RAPES ME OF FREEDOM OF CHOICE AND FROM HEARING FROM HEARING FROM ALL POLITICAL PARTY CANIDATES RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT LIKE FROM THE Justice Party justicepartyusa.org, The Green Party http://www.gp.org/2012/,http://billmoyers.com/segment/jill-stein-and-cheri-honkala-on-third-party-politics/, Peace and Freedom Party http://www.peaceandfreedom2012.org/ AND http://www.peaceandfreedom2012.org/presidential-primary ECT.

    • Have the American People been reduced again to vote for the “lesser of two evils” — are there no other options?

      My conscience cannot allow me to vote for the “lesser of two evils”, because, that means that an Evil will still get elected!
      —————————————————————————————————

      1) The Barack is the evil we know — a Socialist minded professional politician that will have most of its venomous teeth pulled out when republicans win more seats this election. Thus, it will lack the ability to do much more damage than it’s done already. If the Barack is “elected” it will end its last term in a whimper.

      2) The Mitt — the evil we don’t know…yet. But all indicators are that it is supported by the Central Banks. And that it supports Israel unquestionably to the detriment of our own national security (will start more unconstitutional wars to protect Israel, not the USA).

      Should the Mitt win, we may be in bigger trouble — since it assured itself of no competition for the next republican nomination (see the false vote it made the GOP do on its behalf — THE TELEPROMPTER “KNEW” IN ADVANCE HOW THE VOTE WILL GO…SHAME, SHAME SHAME on the Mitt creature):

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=77W5OKStO5s

      —————————————————————-

      So, unless we vote for Gary Johnson — who wants to restore Liberty and Prosperity, what would you get instead:

      Final four years of ‘toothless’ BO — or 8 more years of the Mitt (with the possibility it has groomed its spawn — 5 Mormon Sons — to keep the dynasty going) for many decades to come…?!

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