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October 23, 2012 1:16 am

Obama Clearly Won the Debate, and he May Have Helped Himself with Jewish Voters

avatar by Alan Steinberg

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President Obama and Mitt Romney. Photo: Screenshot.

The Algemeiner has asked me to comment on tonight’s third debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. I am a Republican who supports Mitt Romney, but I will endeavor to be objective in my evaluation of the debate.

I have six basic comments:

1. In terms of “debating points”, Obama clearly won the debate.  He had better command of the issues, and he had highly effective rebuttals to every Romney criticism.

2.  Obama may have helped himself significantly with Jewish voters.  He emphasized America’s commitment to Israel and joint Israel-American military cooperation.  There are very questionable aspects of Obama’s record on Israel – his pressure on Israel to make territorial concessions, his disrespectful treatment of the Netanyahu government, and his refusal to establish “red lines” regarding Iran’s movement towards obtaining a nuclear weapon.  Yet Romney failed to challenge Obama on any of these points.

3.  Romney refrained from criticism on Benghazi.  Evidently, he felt that such criticism could backfire.

4.   In spite of losing the debate, Romney did appear “presidential” and in that sense solidified his status as a potential commander-in-chief, avoiding a potential vote loss on the leadership issue.

5.  Doubtless, the right wing of the Republican Party was dismayed at the number of times Romney agreed with Obama during the debate.  These voters have nowhere else to go, however, and they are so determined to defeat Obama that they will stick with Romney.

6.  The outcome of this election will be determined by the vote in Ohio.  This is why Obama continues to mention the auto bailout every chance he gets, as he did during the debate.  One out of every eight jobs in Ohio is connected, directly or indirectly, with the auto industry.  We will learn the ultimate impact of the third debate when we see the polls in Ohio in a few days.

Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Region 2 EPA consists of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight federally recognized Indian nations. Under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman, he served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. He currently serves on the political science faculty of Monmouth University.

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