On October 16th, President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney met for their second debate. The match-up was presented in a town-hall style format, with both candidates walking around freely, answering questions posed by the audience.
Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama fell back on what they do best; the President’s answers focused on his family and his vision of hope, especially for young people and women. Governor Romney stressed financial issues, continually comparing economic statistics from four years ago versus today.
Although Romney did not appear to make any grandiose blunders in delivery, he did seem to fumble for his words quite a bit more than did the President. Barack Obama’s performance was much smoother and better-polished than the former Massachusetts governor. For his superior delivery in an otherwise well-fought debate, Barack Obama is my winner of the week in politics.
Conversely, although he did not deliver that poor of a performance, Mitt Romney needs to be named as the political loser of the week. With the presidential election this close, any little moves up or down in favorability ratings could mean the difference in swing states, possibly affecting the election.
After his strong performance in their first match-up that coincided with a let up in the blunders made by his campaign, Romney once again seems to have provided fodder for those looking to minimize him. During a question about how to equalize the pay rate between men and women, Governor Romney started talking about how he selected staff to fill positions in his cabinet when he was governor of the Bay State. When presented with just men for one open position, he asked his advisers to give him the names of women who were qualified for the post. Then, the governor told the audience that his staff delivered “binders of women” to him. This misstep has since fueled jokes, pictures and comments on social media. Even if Romney did not deserve to be named this column’s loser of the week just by having been marginally outperformed by Obama, this “binders” comment would earn him the tag on its own accord.
Speaking of the debate, one story you may not have heard about the October 16th debate was what happened outside the event. Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein and her vice-presidential nominee, Cheri Honkala, were arrested while attempting to non-violently enter the university grounds on which the contest was held. According to Stein, the pair were handcuffed to chairs in a warehouse on Long Island for eight hours, being released about one hour after the end of the debate. Standing up to that for what they believe in makes them both winners in my book.
The third party candidates for president will debate on Tuesday, October 23rd, at 9 pm. That debate, hosted by Larry King, may be viewed on the al Jazeera English channel or online at www.freeandequal.org.