Rhetoric Wins!

Well, President Obama showed up for this debate. He decided to get in there and mix it up with Romney. Romney wasn’t too crazy about the idea, either. He clearly fared better when his opponent was disengaged.

Last night’s debate format favored President Obama as he always performs better when engaging with an audience or voters one-on-one. Romney seemed to get more and more wound up as the President challenged him on issues.

For the most part, the two of them stuck to their campaign rhetoric and party playbooks. The questions from the voters may have been the most interesting though.

As we all know, I am a strong advocate of opportunity for women and I was so impressed with the young woman in the audience who raised the pay equity question. That question was clearly advantage Obama. It is just tough to compete with his strong female role models – his mother and grandmother and his wife and two daughters. Sorry Romney.

Particularly concerning to me was the references Romney made to collecting a “binder full of qualified women”. It left the impression that he didn’t know any qualified women. In my opinion, he further stumbled when he indicated that workplaces have to change to accommodate women – flex schedules and all that. Women do not need to be treated differently. In fairness, he has had qualified women on his teams over the years but he stumbled on this one.

The energy discussion was of particular interest to those of us in the Houston area. They engaged vigorously over the topic with Obama promoting alternative fuels and Romney focusing on traditional methods. Romney was gaining ground on these points until he decided to take on the price of gasoline. No offense to the rest of the country, but higher gas prices are good for business in Texas.

The foreign policy debate was vigorous. The focus was on Libya. The President looked “presidential” as he took full responsibility. Romney was doing a good job on the alleged “cover up” of what happened there until he stumbled on challenging the President on his post-event comments.

Both candidates were fully engaged, challenging each other and talking with the audience. Romney supporters feel as if he won and Obama supporters are invigorated and declaring victory. Under normal circumstances, it would be a draw.

In fact, however, it was an Obama comeback so the debate is slight advantage Obama.

The election is a statistical tie, according to polling data. Now, Obama supporters will be more energized and the election outcome boils down to who can actually turn out their voters and gain victory.

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