Now that Oct. 16’s debate has ended, the 2012 election season moves into its final stage. Most polls place the two candidates in a statistical dead heat. To get a good idea of how the race is shaping up, one should note the energy and solid content of the Oct. 16 debate.
The debate was a town-hall format, meaning that randomly-selected undecided voters provided and presented the questions. Coming off a lopsided defeat in the first debate, President Obama needed to take advantage of a format that showcased his charisma. It only took seconds for Obama to show how he was going to perform. The president came out swinging and never looked back. He made all the points that he failed to make against Romney during the debate. The energy was significantly higher, as the two candidates showed obvious malice for each other.
When Romney made a comment aimed at Obama, the president rebutted swiftly and strongly. Obama made it clear that he was going to make Romney work for his votes. Obama took strong stances on gun control and the economy; his only real hiccups were his comments regarding the recent assassinations in Libya, on which he mainly dodged the questions.
Although Obama appeared to be the stronger candidate, Romney did not falter greatly. Romney made it a point to make up for one of his shortcomings this campaign: the vagueness of his platform. Romney attempted to be clearer about features on his platform such as his tax plan and his ideas for gun control, but did have some glaring issues. The first mistake arose when he was attacking Obama about the deadly mismanagement in Libya; Romney criticized Obama because he did not call the attacks “an act of terror” — a patently false statement. Although against protocol, moderator Candy Crowley stepped in to set the record straight, much to the enjoyment of the audience.
Romney’s second mistake occured when he was responding to a question about job creation. He tried to reference the time when he was governor of Massachusetts and needed to hire someone for a cabinet position. There weren’t many women candidates, and he asked why. Romney then said he was provided with “binders full of women” to evaluate for the job.
This statement may not seem like much, but for a candidate already struggling to gain the female vote, a degrading statement like this could be major setback for his campaign.
In the end, it is impossible to say that Obama did not outperform Romney overall. This victory, however, does not mean that Obama is in the clear. The race is just now starting to slowly swing back in Obama’s favor, but he is still behind.
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