It was hard to find much to like about the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University last night. President Obama and former Governor Romney seem to dislike each other intensely – no surprise there after a year of mutual nastiness – and, if there was a hypocrisy test, shaking hands before and after would have failed it. Neither contestant showed much leadership but some of the blame for the missed opportunity falls on moderator Candy Crowley and the Presidential Debate Commission itself.
Crowley could not control the candidates who, at times, looked like they were going to take it outside. Prowling the stage like caged animals might be acceptable (doubtful) but talking over each other and failing to heed the time limits is not. It does not matter if you are the president or a really rich guy, in this setting, when you are told to shut up, do it. Having the microphones go dead when time expires would easily solve this.
There were 11 questions. Allegedly they were chosen from a larger number.
1) Jobs for new college graduates
2) Lower gas prices
3) Specific tax deductions to be eliminated
4) Inequality in the workplace
5) Differences between Romney and George W. Bush
6) Why should I vote for you again, Mr. President?
8) Ambassadorial security in Libya
9) Regulation of AK 47’s
10) Outsourcing jobs
11) Biggest misperception about you (asked to each)
Actual answers to the questions finished a distant last behind reversion to talking points, interrupting, finger pointing, being rude to the moderator and lying.
Since there was no question at all about government spending, debt or deficits, there must be no reason for concern about any of these things. What exactly were you thinking, Ms. Crowley?
According to the experts, the target audience was women, a demographic in which the President’s considerable advantage has been declining. If so, a Larry Summers Award to Crowley who must think women can’t do arithmetic.
According to CNN, Obama won 46-39 and according to CBS it was 37-30 for the President.
Leadership and the needs of the country were soundly defeated.