Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Second Debate - Two Key Moments

There were two key moments in the second presidential debate in my view. One was the exchange on Libya and the other was Mitt Romney's response to the question on equal pay for women. First, let's take a look at the key part of the Libya exchange:

There is a lot of focus on the instant fact check done by Candy Crowley there. But I think the key moment is actually what precedes the fact check moment. Crowley asked the President about where the buck stops on the Libya issue. Obama's response here was simply his best moment in either debate because in that moment, he demonstrated what a President looks like and made Romney look small. That Romney went on to challenge it further and actually get his facts wrong and had to be fact-checked by Crowley only emphasized it. That was a TERRIBLE moment for Romney.

The other key moment in the second presidential debate was Romney's response to the question on equal pay for women. Romney's response was very strange and awkward and the twitterverse exploded with messages about binders like this one.

But the focus on binders misses the bigger problems with Romney's response. Here's the whole answer:

Notice Romney's language here: "I recognized that if you're going to have women in the workforce, that sometimes, they need to be more flexible." He goes on to explain that flexibility means those women might need certain hours home with the kids. This was just not good at all. "'IF' you're going to have women in the workforce???" Not good.

Remember that the effect of the first debate had to do with key moments in the debate being replayed and reinterpreted as we moved along. The same will be true here and I would argue these clips are going to be playing over and over in the next 24 hours. And that will make those bad moment worse.

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