While the first presidential debate was characterized by half-truths and the vice presidential debate brought out confidence and arrogance from both sides, Tuesday nights second presidential debate showed more personal aspects of the candidates leaving the audience questioning who exactly the former Mass. governor is.
In the town hall-style debate, President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney brought their backgrounds to the table in a passionate dialogue.
Yet the rhetoric used by candidates set them apart more than before, and Romneys stances on key issues were hard to relate to.
When talking about tax credits, Romney used a random tax deduction amount to make a point and he chose $25,000.
Yet with this arbitrary number, Romney only moved his point of view farther away from the unemployed and college students that the candidates spent the first part of the debate discussing. Not only is this a failure to relate to college students, a $25,000 tax cut is not relatable to most of America.
According to Bloomberg, 3.7 million taxpayers reported $25,000 or more in tax deductions, and 10 million claimed $15,000 to $25,000.
The Los Angeles Times reported the average deduction claimed by people who earn $100,000 to $200,000 in adjusted gross income is $24,166. Yet according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median U.S. income in 2011 was $50,054, and in that income bracket, the average deduction claimed was $12,128.
Romneys numbers are beyond the average Americans means.
Obamas use of specific examples in his answers to the audiences questions, such as trade with China, renewable energy and womens health care, brought issues home to voters who need concrete answers. Romneys more general answers, though, just made him less relatable.
When discussing what each candidate would do to make sure that college students could find jobs after graduation, Romney said, I know what it takes to get this economy going, saying he would continue the Pell Grant and other loan programs.
Yet Obama spoke with greater clarity, giving specific examples of creating manufacturing jobs and supporting community colleges, investing in energy solutions to create jobs and making sure the U.S. education system is strong.
Romney showcased his confidence when standing up to and questioning Obamas comments, making a strong stance for what needs to change in the U.S.
Yet some comments, such as stating that women should be allowed to have access to contraception, go against his former statements. According to PolitiFact, Romney said he supported the Blunt amendment, exempting employers from providing any service that went against their beliefs or moral convictions.
These policy contradictions and difficult-to-relate-to examples set Romney further from the population whose votes he needs most young voters and only confuses his true policy stances and the concrete plans he would implement if elected president.