I am not going to lie, I was not initially on the Barack Obama bandwagon. In 2008, I thought he was young, inexperienced and his criticisms of Hillary Clinton's Senate voting records were unfair because he had barely spent any time in the Senate himself. If John McCain had not picked Sarah Palin as his running mate and pandered to the far right of the Republican Party, there is a strong chance I would have voted for McCain.
However, over the last four years, President Obama grew on me, and even impressed me. He showed his political savvy by appointing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and together, they managed very difficult foreign policy decisions and actions, including killing Osama bin Laden, handling the Arab Spring, and refocusing the State Department's efforts on East Asia to prepare for the future. He negotiated a less than friendly political environment to pass his landmark health care legislation, Obamacare, into law, which provides insurance for an additional 30 million Americans, and ensures that every American citizen has access to the health insurance they need.
Then, there are the things that are not so impressive. The economy is definitely not where it needs to be. Unemployment rates are still high (7.8% according to the latest jobs report) and progress on this front has been slow.
But even with Barack Obama's flaws as president, I voted for him for a second term, mostly because the thought of Mitt Romney as president actually scares me. Based on what I have learned so far from three debates and endless political ads, I have no idea what his policies would look like, and the ones on which he has been clear, I fundamentally disagree.
When Mitt Romney discusses foreign policy, he appears confused and his criticisms of the Obama administration have very little weight given his lack of experience. I fear that his prioritization of America's alliance with Israel (the importance of which I am not denying) could wind up leading to an all out war with Iran. Additionally, his utilization of the events in Cairo, Egypt and Benghazi, Libya in September 2012 for political purposes was disgusting.
As a woman, I cannot even fathom having Mitt Romney as president. His policies here have been clear: Cut Planned Parenthood funding and overturn Roe v. Wade. These measures are huge steps backward on women's rights, and effect everyone (both men and women) in the United States as basic public health issues.
In the end, no one knows what the next four years will bring, but I have confidence in President Obama's ability to lead the United States through them. I just cannot say the same for Mitt Romney.