Mitt Romney’s strategy to duplicate his behavior in the first second presidential debate in the second was evident the moment you heard the answer he gave to a very nervous 20-year-old college student who kicked off the town hall forum with a question about his job prospects following graduation. “I want to make sure we keep our Pell Grant program going,” he declared. In reality, Romney loves Pell Grants so much that he chose a running mate that seeks to substantially gut them.
Clearly 'Myth Romney' wanted to have another 90-minute lie fest.
His tap dance act around honesty has become commonplace, but one of the larger questions preceding the debate was whether or not the president would call him on it. President Obama let Romney off the hook for the Pell Grant fable, but remained vigilant in pointing out his challenger’s problem with the facts throughout the debate.
Obama appeared engaged, firm in his tone, and unlike his widely panned performance two weeks ago, seemed more confident and defensive of his record.
Romney was Romney: Aggressive, overeager, and frustratingly disrespectful.
Under the unfortunate impression that the world revolves his wants and needs, Romney was given a wake up call from debate moderator Candy Crowley when trying to alter the debate rules he helped set. "Actually, it doesn't work like that," Crowley explained to My Way Mitt. Unbothered, Romney continued to behave like a belligerent brat anyway.
At one point during the debate, Crowley said, “Let’s talk about self-deportation.” Romney quickly followed, “No.” He was even worse with Obama.
In another grandiose display of delusions of grandeur, Romney sharply told Obama, “You'll get your chance in a moment. I'm still speaking.” Romney’s arrogance and condescension are only outmatched by his entitlement and that was on display once again last night.
As for the issues, some raised felt pointless – particularly chatter about gas prices that presidents have no sway over and discussions about energy that when devoid of mentions of clean energy and climate change are disingenuous.
Thankfully, some topics which had been previously ignored were discussed. Obama slammed Romney on immigration by reminding of him of the previous statement: “I will veto the DREAM Act.” As much as Mitt likes to tell that story of his dad being born in Mexico (to American parents evading polygamy laws,) his position on immigration reform is all that truly matters.
Contraception came up, resulting in Romney offering a statement his campaign is sure to retract soon: "Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives."
When the issue of pay equity for women was raised, Romney likely gave his campaign staff another headache by effectively arguing for affirmation action. Claiming that when he was governor he made a “concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet,” Romney also stated that he “went to a number of women's groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.”
#bindersfullofwomen has already become a trending topic on Twitter and scored its own Tumblr. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said of that line, “What is this binder full of women Mitt's talking about? Sounds like bondage."
Less funny was Romney’s patriarchal view of women and family. Asked about assault weapons, Romney managed to interject: “We need moms and dads, helping to raise kids. Wherever possible the — the benefit of having two parents in the home, and that's not always possible.”
As we all know, single parents are not to blame for the culture of violence in America. A marriage license won’t thwart gun violence, but the kind of gun legislation he signed in Massachusetts might help with such a goal. Conversely, Obama pushed for a “broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally,” explaining “in my home town of Chicago, there's an awful lot of violence and they're not using AK-47s. They're using cheap hand guns.”
Romney’s aloofness was a constant. At one point the man running for president quipped, “Government does not create jobs.” Why bother running then?
The highlights of the night involved a visibly upset Obama shutting down Romney’s claims that he took too long to refer to the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya as a terrorist strike, plus the accusation that he returned to politics too quickly following the tragedy. Obama clarified that he made reference to “acts of terror” – which Candy Crowley fact checked and confirmed on the spot.
The other was Obama ending the debate referencing Romney’s comments about the “47 percent,” calling on voters to “think about who he was talking about.”
For these mysterious “undecided” voters, hopefully they’ve finally gotten a clue. If not, there’s just no saving those fools. And for voters over it all, fret not. We’ve only got one more debate to go.