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The first presidential debate left many of us wondering, where was President Barack Obama? Last night, I held my breath as the debate started, knowing that this was a make or break moment for the president and that he had to strike just the right balance. Could he be strong, authoritative and, well, presidential? From my perspective, he knocked it out of the park!
President Obama was well prepared and ready for the task. He met each question with energy and, more importantly, with answers. He clearly made his points while acknowledging that there is work to be done, and he managed to both contradict and correct Mitt Romney without being condescending or smug, which is how I felt the former Massachusetts governor behaved during the first debate.
The woman’s vote is critical in this election and the gap closed following the last debate as many women began to lean towards Romney. Last night, Romney needed to make women continue to feel supported and heard. From the way he disrespected the moderator to the way he skirted the question on fair pay and instead extolled the flexible schedule offered to his female chief-of-staff so that she might be “home in time to cook dinner,” he showed how out of touch he is with the struggles most women face today. Flexible schedules have nothing to do with equal pay. Did he offer his male staff members a similar flexible schedule?
Of course his “binders full of women,” while a silly line, is possibly one of the most damaging things Romney could have said while needing to court the female vote because it speaks to his attitude regarding women. It wasn’t about finding the right women, it was about filling the quota. Go out and find me a woman!
Meanwhile President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter bill, moving equal pay for equal work forward. His statement that he wants his daughters to have all the opportunities your (my) sons do is a strong one.
The president’s response to the attack in Benghazi -- “I am ultimately responsible for what's taking place there because these are my folks” -- was simply chilling and everything you want from a president.
Everyone was waiting impatiently for Romney’s infamous 47 percent comment to make an appearance and it was Romney himself who not only opened the door for it to be brought up but also teed up the shot and asked President Obama which club he wanted to use to make a hole in one.
Obama was back for sure. The president’s closing remarks gave me chills and had me saying THAT’S my president!
Did he find the right balance tonight? I think he did.
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Stephanie Stearns Dulli is an iVoice on iVillage and the founder of abellereve.com. A recovering actress and comedian, Stephanie left Los Angeles to raise her two sons in the DC Metro area with her husband of five years. Find her on Twitter at @abellereve.