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Welcome to the journal editorial -- -- -- Chicago presidential candidates met for their second debate this week with a more spirited President Obama trading jabs with Republican rival Mitt Romney and everything from energy to immigration to taxes.
National polls show the race still very much a toss up and swing state surveys continue to tighten.
Both candidates are campaigning hard in those key states as they hone their message for the campaign's closing weeks joining the panel this week Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor Dan happening -- Editorial board member Mary kissel.
Assistant editorial page editor James Freeman and Washington columnist.
Kim -- also -- I talked to a lot of Democrats this week who were elated by the president's performance they say.
-- -- the king is back he's really Iraq and now the momentum the big motion without what do you think about.
About that is out there right.
Well I mean the president certainly made his base thrilled with his performance at the debate in that was one of the things he needed to do look there has.
Too many questions coming at the president's campaign he need to -- and calm those fears that yes he succeed -- that.
What he did not arguably do at the debate is.
Is in -- -- stem the damage that Mitt Romney inflicted in the first debate which was to expose that he's not really running publicly with a second term agenda.
-- and that's what independents and a lot of undecided voters are looking and and that he really sounded like someone who was stumbling he just didn't have a plan and that was problem.
-- and that the can Obama campaign is is rolling out this week following the debate which they think -- is a big plus for them.
-- -- In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace.
Specifically regarding females making only 72%.
Of what their male counterparts earn.
I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seem to be men and I say well gosh can't wait.
-- find some some women that are also qualified they brought us all binders full of eleven women.
So behind -- is full of women being the the viral web viral.
-- line of of of the week it's clearly a strategy.
On Obama's part aimed at turning out when the brewers which they're concerned about where -- is making some inroads.
Is that what do you think of that strategy.
It on -- making inroads because he's talking to women like they have a brain he's talked to them from the neck up and you know women are just as likely as an -- to be pro life.
You know I think the Romney campaign to counter an -- like that by talking about some of the real reasons.
That women have paid disparities there -- things can be changed about tax -- there are things you can be changed about our labor laws.
And they think it shows you just how desperate the Obama campaign has become if they're seizing on something.
That's has -- -- -- phrase binders of women.
But cam there really -- the women's vote is crucial for Obama I mean they are stressing this every Democrat -- talk to says that this may be where the election.
What it depends on.
Look they've got a couple of course subgroups.
The Hispanic community minorities and in particular women and and the youth vote and they are it's going to be that.
Whether or not Barack Obama wins will be in part by how -- -- margin he he has won at all.
-- he wins women over Mitt Romney and this is why they are so concerned -- why they're running this -- because.
What really happened after the first debate and -- is it Mitt Romney calmed a lot of fears that women had about him.
And he started to narrow that gap to the point where in some polls he's actually polling evenly with the president among women and that's why they're pursuing this so aggressive.
Okay down wanna run a go ahead you wanna get -- -- handled this -- something well not so much the women but the one questioner in that debate about whom they will not be running and dad was the black fellow who stood up and simply asked the president about.
What he's doing for every dateline -- we've got a man that would that plays off of that answer let's look at.
This is a -- His policies haven't worked median incomes down 43 hours -- family and 23 million Americans out of work he said that he cut in half the deficit.
-- just hasn't been able.
To put in place -- for Medicare and Social Security to preserve them that's what this election is about.
It's about who can get the middle class in this country a bright and prosperous future and assure our kids.
The kind of hope and optimism they deserve.
This is the big mega theme that -- developing now basically saying it's focused on the economy -- -- -- it's not regionally based and I thought that was his most effective answering that today.
-- did too and I think it is the mega issue I think that fellow put his finger right on it out that we relate.
Might economic like my daily life to what's going on in the larger economy.
And President Obama virtually had nothing to say to them that by the time he was done he was talking about ending the war in Iraq and killing bin Laden but don't forget a 100000 -- Now which are gonna -- -- -- aren't.
Yeah I BR Romney critique that the litany of Obama broken promises that he went through that -- that was the best part of the debate I would like him to see two I would like to see Romney do a little more explaining why.
Liberating the economy simplifying the tax code creates jobs a little more about why.
Freedom works better than government but in terms of -- knocking down the Obama claims that he correctly pointed out the president has cut energy production on federal defense scored.
It's interesting America that -- at least to me that the Romney campaign has this large national scene the economy is working for you here's how we can fix that Obama has a much more -- -- it's almost -- -- they're trying to run.
Basically ten governor's races so he emerges as mr.
Cole first house -- that that -- -- -- one for MSNBC and west for it and every western Virginia you know he's got these micro targeting strategies it's an interesting distinction.
It isn't interesting distinction I wanna know is where's the demand for details on how he's going to achieve all the things that he's promised they want details on Romney's tax -- but the president says he's gonna create a million manufacturing jobs.
While -- with the same strategy is the last four years one thing on Dan's point I think another achievement Romney.
Was that he exposed the president's lack of leadership he says where's the plan to fix entitlements that's a team I think you really needs to -- on.
In the next debates in the days to come.
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