Jobs: Both lost on jobs for grads of Hofstra; both are thinking way too much about middle-class voters in blue-collar states. Among those voters, it was a tie.
Gas prices: Obama won among clean energy proponents. Romney won among oil, coal and gas proponents at first, but Obama got it back fairly quickly. Neither acknowledged the role of other countries.
Taxes: Obama. He spoke for those who aren’t convinced that Romney’s plan that will benefit the middle class. Except for his philosophy on small businesses that file as individuals, Romney didn’t offer enough specifics to prove otherwise, or that his plan would be an improvement.
Women: Romney. He had good details on workplace flexibility and recruiting. Obama’s approach to pay equity was more litigious, but he did score on women’s health.
Romney = Bush?: Obama. Except for China, Romney said little that Bush didn’t. Obama beat him on social policy.
Obama’s accomplishments: Neither. We’ve heard it all before. Who won depends on what you’re struggling with.
Immigration: Romney. He scored on needed changes to the system for legal immigrants, and for children of illegal immigrants. Obama wasn’t specific enough in the first case or on border security, but scored on earlier statements of Romney’s.
Libya: Romney, at first, although he didn’t sound nearly as emphatic as I expected. Obama was too focused on what he’s doing after the attack, but scored big-time after Romney was fact-smacked. Both went on too many Mideast tangents.
Assault weapons: Obama. Both did an adequate job of addressing underlying issues of violence, but Romney was completely closed off to semi-automatic weapons legislation. Ridiculous.
Reshoring: Obama. Romney was too heavy on China’s misdeeds and way too light on the misdeeds of the tax code. His point about regulations could have used an anecdote.
Misconceptions: Obama, because he actually addressed a misconception.
Debate format: Better than I expected – the town hall idea made me nervous – despite the timing issues. Candy Crowley was a good moderator, but I wish she’d lost the amused tone and been all “NO. STFU.”
Overall tone: The two candidates saved the majority of their contempt for their words, not their faces. Tough without being insufferable. Terrible on timing, of course.
Overall winner: Obama. He’s back, baby.