And finally on the issue of regulation, Romney denies that repealing the Dodd-Frank banking rules will allow the banks free rein again over the economy in a dangerous way. When the country was in an economic crisis created by risky lending practices, Romney was against reining banks in. And now he pledges to repeal the fixes that the president supported to make sure they don't happen again.
The president laid out his views on education much more directly and effectively than Romney did as well, when he talked about the need for smaller class sizes and increasing programs at community colleges, particularly those aimed at filling work force needs. Romney essentially said he likes teachers (does anyone not like teachers?), but gave no further specifics.
Romney did have the president on the defensive a few times tonight, but that is likely because he was surprised that Romney was talking so easily out of both sides of his mouth. The important task in the next day will be with the fact checkers, vetting the things that were said tonight. And I am hoping they do their job.
Obama laid out the basic facts about the economy and health care and his record tonight. He was calm, thoughtful and respectful. That is what the American people need to be able count on with a president. Romney did not seemed trustworthy tonight, given how obviously he obfuscated his own positions and dodged specifics.
Romney needed a game changer tonight, and he didn't get it. So when a debate ends with a neutral, Obama wins. On to the next one!
Hilary Rosen, a CNN contributor, is a Democratic political strategist and former chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America.
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