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Critics compare and contrast debate form of Obama, Romney


(FOX 25 / – Democrats are looking to gain back momentum after a disappointing debate performance by President Barack Obama against Mitt Romney.

Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said Romney was "hiding the truth and the facts" from the American people.

The criticism was raining down from all sides about the president's debate performance against an alert and engaged Romney.

"He was relatively mediocre," said Dr. Bob Rosenthal, Chairman of the Communications and Journalism Department at Suffolk University. He believes the president was given some bad advice and played it too safe.

"There were moments when Romney was moving toward the center on a couple of issues, like Romneycare and Obamacare. Well, he had an opportunity to say, ‘Well, that's not what you said on the stump or at the Republican primary debates, and it looks like you've changed your tune a little bit,'" said Rosenthal. "He didn't take the opportunity to talk about the 47 percent, which all the research says has really played in Obama's favor and that must have been a matter of design. I think he got some bad advice, and it's coming back to haunt him."

Boston College psychology professor and body language expert Joe Tecce says both Romney and Obama blinked a lot, suggesting nervousness.

While Romney made eye contact, he says Obama just kept looking down and away.

"He did this on the order of 20 times a minute," said Tecce. "Twenty gaze aversions a minute, which broke the record of Roger Clemens who peaked at 18 during the Congressional hearing on steroids."

When it came to fact checking, Obama and Romney both made some questionable claims.

Obama said the rise in health insurance premiums has been the slowest in 50 years. He's actually mixing overall health care spending and health insurance premiums.

Romney said there are 23 million unemployed, but that's not true either. The actual number is 12.5 million.

Look for what the polls say about this debate in a couple of days.

Senator John Kerry acted as Romney's stand-in for the president's debate prep.

FOX 25 reached out to the Sen. Kerry's office for his reaction to the debate, but we were told he had no public events and would not be available for comment.

The next debate is scheduled for Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. It's a town meeting formal that will focus on foreign and domestic policy.

The vice presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 11 at Centre College in Danville, Ky.