2012 Election: Third Debate Recap

The presidential debate last night made for excellent television. Prior to debates, each candidate must agree to the rules of each debate (i.e. length of time to answer questions, rebuttal times, agreeing not to engage one another directly, etc.), but both candidates were passionate and at a few points the rules seemed to go out the window.

The town hall format on Long Island allowed undecided voters, chosen by Gallup (a polling and public opinion research company) to ask questions of the candidates. The tension between President Obama and Governor Romney was palpable at times, particularly when gas prices, licensees and permits, and Libya were discussed.

The debate began with Jeremy, a college student, asking candidates what they would do to ensure he would have a job upon graduation.  Governor Romney said he would make college more affordable, provide opportunities that he provided in Massachusetts, nationwide, such as the John and Abigail Adams scholarship available to students in the top 25% of their class, sustain Pell grants, and maintain student loan programs. President Obama told Jeremy he would build on the five million jobs created over the last 30 months, rebuild the manufacturing industry, change the tax code to offer incentives, assist small businesses, support community college training programs, reduce the deficit, and ensure the US has full control of its own energy.

Throughout the debate Governor Romney was quick to remind the audience of the economic realities of the past four years and suggest that if the President were reelected, the next four years would be no different.  President Obama, on the other hand, asserted the answers Governor Romney gave throughout the debate were different than his positions and actions in the past, and suggested Governor Romney is more conservative on issues of social policy and economic issues than President George W. Bush.

Accusations of misinformation and lies were thrown back and forth all night, on a range of topics.  There is no doubt it was a contentious debate, but as President Obama pointed out, both he and Governor Romney agree on the importance of involved parents and the importance of education.

As for performance, Democrats generally seemed pleased with the President’s performance and thought it improved from the first debate; and, Republicans generally seemed pleased with Governor Romney’s performance.  With such a tight race, it will be interesting to see if next week’s final debate, on foreign policy, will shift the election in favor of one candidate over the other.

If you missed the debate, you can read the full transcript and watch video here: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82484.html?hp=t1_b1.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
• Who do you think, “won” the debate?
• What do you think of the town hall format?
• Did the tension between the candidates bother you, or were you pleased to see their passion?
• Do you wish the Libertarian and Green Party candidates had been invited to participate in the debates, or are you content with a two party debate?
• Did the debate change your mind about either candidate?
• What is your opinion on the issues brought up facing women and pay equity, as well as the first question about the difficult of finding jobs out of college?

MORE READING:
The Everygirls’ Guide to the Elections Part 1: Registering, Swing States, and the Election Calendar
The Everygirls’ Guide to the Election Part 2: Learn Where All Four Candidates Stand on the Issues

Be sure to watch the debate next Monday night and join in our re-cap and conversation on Tuesday.

by Contributing Political Editor Carrie Pastor

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