I just watched the second Presidential debate. There were times when I thought that Barack Obama was a wimp, especially when Mitt Romney said that he wasn't finished, and Obama meekly sat down. But, in my opinion, Obama closed strong, particularly when he said that we need to support education and engineering if we are to draw businesses to the United States. Moreover, while Romney did well to offer details on the economic downturns over the past four years (i.e., more people on food stamps), Obama did well to note his tax reductions on small businesses, to highlight where he has gotten tough on China, and to explain why he didn't renew the leases of oil companies that were choosing to be inactive on federal lands in order to increase their profits. The fact checkers are saying that Obama indeed did reduce the number of leases, but I still admired Obama's populism. (UPDATE: According to this fact check, oil production on federal lands has increased by 13 percent since Obama took office.)
had some difference of opinion from my Mom and her husband, with whom I
was watching the debate. My Mom's husband thought that Romney made a
mistake in pressing the issue of whether Obama early on called the
attack on the American embassy in Libya an act of terror. I thought
that Romney was effective there, however, for it shows how confused the
Obama Administration may have been soon after the attack, such that it
was unsure if the attack was an act of terror or a spontaneous
demonstration in response to the YouTube video. At the same
time, I wonder: Does an act of terror have to be pre-planned? Why can't
a spontaneous attack be considered an act of terror?
(UPDATE: I think I may be starting to understand this issue better.
Romney's point has long been that Obama was slow to regard the attack as
an act of terror. But it turns out that Obama called it an act of
terror at the outset. At the same time, I doubt that Obama considered
it an organized, pre-planned act of terror at first, for people in his
Administration were presenting it as a spontaneous outburst in response
to a YouTube video. But perhaps a spontaneous outburst can still be an
act of terror.)
Mom and her husband thought that Romney made a gaffe when he said that
women on his staff wanted flexible time so that they could cook and take
care of their children. Their view was that Romney was implying that a
woman has those domestic responsibilities since that is her role, plus
they noted that men, too, needed flexible time. I myself did
not see what Romney said as a gaffe, for I have read feminists who say
that women need flexible work-schedules, plus I was impressed that
Romney was sensitive to that point. But I agree that men, too, need
flexible work-schedules, and perhaps Obama did well to say that he was
talking about a family issue, not just women's issues.
Mom and her husband thought that Romney made a gaffe in arguing that
single parent homes have more criminals. At first, I did not see that
as a gaffe because Romney was acknowledging that single-parents work
hard, plus I could see Romney's point that marriage can reduce poverty.
At the same time, Romney's comments were made in the context of his
discussion about crime, and so one could see him as implying that
single-parent families produce more criminals, and that could offend
The pundits I am watching are saying
that Obama won this debate. There were times when I thought that Romney
was more present and engaged, but, overall, I'd say that Obama won, for
he closed better.