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Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 in 2012 Elections, Economy, Politics, USA Presidential Election 2012 | 3 comments

Last Night’s Presidential Debate: By the Numbers (Updated)


Over at the Washington Post, Sean Sullivan has published a piece looking at presidential debate numbers — from a different slant.

For example:

* 52 (Number of times the word “Medicare” was uttered): Reminders that disagreements over the future of entitlements remain a central focus in this campaign were everywhere Wednesday, as Obama hit Romney over his plan to revamp Medicare and Romney noted the cuts to the program the president’s federal health care law caused.

* 0 (Number of times Romney’s “47 percent” comment came up): Obama notably didn’t bring it up, even as his campaign has been running scads of ads hitting Romney over his remarks at a May fundraiser. That doesn’t mean Obama won’t bash Romney on it at a future debate, but it perhaps does signal that the incumbent didn’t want to appear too aggressive (or political) in the first debate.

Read more here


Original Post:

Michael D. Shear at the New York Times yesterday (before the debate) published a list of numbers, figures, statistics and percentages that the candidates have been using throughout their campaigns “to bolster their arguments and attacks.”

He also said:

Most of those numbers have become staples of the Republican and Democratic stump speeches during the past several months, and are likely to be the focus of the three debates between the presidential candidates and the one faceoff between their running mates.

In order to save space and, at the same time, to tease the reader’s recollection and politics savvy, I will only list the numbers, statistics, etc. below and let the reader figure out what those numbers, etc. refer to — most of them are very familiar. (However, if the reader needs help, he or she can always peek here)

The second challenge for the reader will be to recall from last night’s debate which of these numbers were actually used or referred to by the candidates.

It is likely that the Times will shortly do a similar analysis.

When that happens, I will provide the link in an update.

Here they are:



47 Percent (This one is easy…)

100 Percent

$5 Trillion

$16 Trillion



4 Years

23 Million

46.2 Million and 15 Million

47th (This one is not so easy)





11 Million

14.1 Percent

20 Percent


1.3 Percent

12 Million


How many of these numbers did the candidates use/refer to last night?

Have fun.

Numbers, statistics image via