The second presidential debate on Tuesday gave the viewers and particularly undecided voters a chance to engage with the candidates. It also gave President Obama and Mitt Romney an opportunity to engage directly with the audience. Here are five things to take away from Tuesday’s debate for undecided voters.
For women voters, the answer is clear as to who would protect women’s rights. President Obama signed as his first act following taking the oath as President, the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act. Lilly Ledbetter worked on her job as a supervisor for almost 20 years. She later discovered she was paid $3700 a month for her position and the lowest paid man was paid $4300 for the same exact job. In litigation, she was not able to prevail due to tight time requirements for filing a claim. President Obama knew there are a lot of Lilly Ledbetters in America. So he signed the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act which lessens the burdensome time requirements for filing an employment discrimination act. His act of making the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act, his first bill signed into law, speaks volumes about this president and his concern for women’s rights. President Obama wants the same level playing field for his daughters and all women. Romney did not support the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act but will not repeal it, if elected—at least that’s what he says for now.
Mitt Romney promises to do a lot for women’s rights by moving women background. Romney has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood which provides screenings of breast and cervical cancer for many women. He has said in the past that he will appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will reverse Roe v. Wade—a woman’s right to choose her reproductive rights. And during the debate, he spoke of two parent families as being critical while knowing that he will defund Planned Parenthood eliminating contraceptives for many women. Romney will also end Obamacare which provides mammograms for women. Nancy Keener, President of NARAL Pro Choice sums it sums up this way by saying that Mitt Romney supported the Blunt amendment which allowed bosses to deny birth-control coverage to their employees and supported defunding Planned Parenthood which provides contraceptives to millions of Americans.
For immigrant families, President Obama has started a path towards citizenship for those children who have spent most of their lives in the U.S. but are undocumented. Mitt Romney says he hopes these individuals will self-deport themselves. As President Obama pointed out in the debate, even George W. Bush supported immigration reform.
President Obama made clear that he has been fighting for jobs and the middle class=–lowering taxes, increasing Pell grants—- and will continue to do so. Mitt Romney has been outsourcing jobs to China during his years at Bain Capital. The jobs that he speaks of creating may counter balance the ones that we lost to China with his help. And remember that Mitt Romney wanted to let Detroit and the auto industry go bankrupt. That would not have saved any jobs but lost millions with its devastating domino effect.
And behind closed doors, Mitt Romney talks about 47% of Americans who he thinks are victims and won’t support, if elected. Regardless whether you think you are among the 47%, Mitt Romney will not do anything for you if he believes you are in that category of Americans. President Obama has made clear since winning the presidency during his victory speech in November, 2008 that he intends to be the president for all America. Mitt Romney by his own words does not support all Americans.
Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts. However, the state that he governed is overwhelmingly supporting President Obama. If Mitt Romney was so good for Massachusetts, then wouldn’t they be in full support of him? People from Massachusetts know Mitt Romney and want nothing to do with him as president of the U.S. They know what America will unfortunately learn if Romney is elected president. As my parents would say, we don’t want to learn the hard way what the people of Massachusetts know about Romney.
President Obama summed it up best by saying whose promises are more likely to help you…That’s the real question. Who do you trust? In an earlier debate, Vice President Joe Biden said to trust your gut.
Another way of looking at the differences between President Obama and Mitt Romney is to look at their acts and deeds. Mitt Romney as CEO of Bain sends jobs to China but says he can create them in America, if elected president. Mitt Romney says at the debate that he will help the middle class. In private and behind closed door fundraisers, he says he will not help 47% of Americans. Romney wants to help women by defunding Planned Parenthood leaving millions of women without contraceptives, breast and cervical cancer screenings and other necessary health services. And Romney’s view of immigration reform is for undocumented immigrants to self-deport. If Romney makes sense to undecided voters, I have a bridge to sell to you.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national, international and local media including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, local NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and Washington Times among others. She also contributes articles to the Huffington Post and the Women’s Media Center.