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Originally posted at The Political is Personal

Last night's townhall style debate featured two candidates on fire and determined to win four years in the White House. Mitt Romney blasted Barack Obama for not doing enough while the President dished Romney's multiple positions on issues right back at him. It was epic!

Oh wait, that's not the debate and Candy Crowley is no Abraham Lincoln. The debate last night ran over time as Crowley allowed the two men to speak well past their time limits and jump over each other. Instead we have moments like this.

Crowley's shining moment came when she blunted Romney's remarks with the facts. A fact-checking in real time at a debate... quite the concept. Romney stumbled in other places as well, especially when he made the remark of having binders full of women when he was considering who to hire for his cabinet positions as Governor of Massachusetts. His terrible comment came during his answer on pay equity. An advisor has said Romney would have vetoed the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Emily's List and others have already pounced on it by creating another meme surrounding Romney's problems with women.

Unlike two weeks ago the President actually looked engaged and ready to argue. He came off as passionate and poised to defend his record. The performance came at a pivotal point for the President with just three weeks remaining in the election. Romney has gained in the polls since the first debate pushing the election into a real horserace. Obama managed to close the debate on a solid note (again unlike the first debate).

Obama's closing sold a somewhat progressive vision for his second term by using Romney's 47 percent comments in a way that most progressive envision the role of government. One that tries to level the playing field for all citizens, rewards hard work, allows people to climb the socio-economic ladder, provides a social safety net for everyone, and helps veterans after their service.

This is not rocket science. As I wrote earlier today:

This election is too damn important to rely upon one-liners or thoughts that Romney's monetary success qualifies him to lead a nation of more than 300 million people... not counting the corporations, of course.

The civil rights of my LGBTQ friends are on the line. The ability for my peers and younger family members to go to college depends upon it. Care of veterans and bringing troops back from Afghanistan and hopefully avoiding a war with Iran. Just keeping social security and medicare in decent shape matters because Obama would not privatize them. Promoting a society that helps each other matters greatly.

Barack Obama is not the perfect candidate. He wasn't in 2008 either. But his desire to see a country that works for 100 percent of the people is miles ahead of a party and a candidate that believes 47 percent of the population is simply too damn lazy to do well.

We can be a better nation. I believe four more years of Barack Obama's leadership can do that. I also believe that we will all have to push our Congressional leaders and Obama himself to advance the goals mentioned above. It will take a continued movement to make the United States a better country. One that says yes to marriage equality. One that truly honors the service of a veteran. One that pushes diplomacy and peace before war. One that practices what it preaches in the words of the Declaration of Independence - "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

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