Over all, I thought the debate was going along nicely for both candidates, until Romney brought up the Benghazi, Libya tragedy. By the time he was done claiming Obama did not state the attack on the consulate was an "Act of Terror" (which he in fact did), he seemed small. When Obama admitted responsibility for the tragedy, Romney should have left the matter alone, but he could not help himself. Perhaps it was hubris from his easy victory in Denver in the first debate or perhaps his handlers miscalculated when pushing this issue, but Romney suffered in the debate from that point onward. When asked about banning assault weapons, Obama pivoted to working to end violence through education (okay, but what about those guns?), Romney implied all the violence was due to the ill-fated Fast and Furious mess at the Justice Department (not even close to the truth), but he then pivoted to claim it was due to the lack of two parent homes. Huh? Does this mean all of the violence in America involving a gun is due to single women raising children? Not a very smart statement from an otherwise very smart guy.
It did not help that he boldly claimed he sought out qualified women to work in his Cabinet as Massachusetts governor, and as a result, acquired binders of qualified women. Great sentiment, but millions of women are qualified and cannot be limited to those found in binders. To make matters worse, a bi-partisan women's advocacy group by the name of MassGap presented Romney binders with resumes of qualified women upon his election to be considered for staff and Cabinet positions. They insist, they prepared the binders with the lists of women for the governor's consideration, regardless if Romney won the election or not. Bottom line, Romney did not seek these names, they were put upon him to get him to hire women to the posts. Although he did hire some of them, most left before the end of his term in Massachusetts because they did not advance in the Romney administration. He made it worse when he said he gave his former female chief of staff flexible hours so she could go home and take care of her children and "cook dinner." Really Mitt? Did she also make sure to have her husband's pipe and slippers ready when he got home from his important job?
There are any number of things I could comment on from last night's debate. I could write about Obama actually fighting back, unlike the first debate. I could talk about how he failed to answer questions directly and instead also pivoted to tried and true campaign rhetoric. But the bottom line is obvious. Both Romney and Obama did what they had to do...they sold themselves to their base. Now, will it really matter come Election Day?