A questioner at the Hofstra debate brings up gun control, something that's essentially been a non-issue in this election thus far. President Barack Obama has mostly angered liberals more than conservatives on this one during his term, doing pretty much nothing to stop the assault weapons the questioner wants stopped, or any other guns either.
There isn't going to be a lot of daylight between the two candidates on this issue, and if I was moderator Candy Crowley I likely would have left it out. Republican challenger Romney is not a gun nut, nor is Obama an anti-gun nut.
There is some separation on how they feel about semi-automatic weapons, but not all that much.
But Romney seems to be saying if we improve our schools, and have better parenting, and people get married before they have kids, we'll improve the culture and people won't kill each other so much.
That was kind of odd, but Romney does make a nice segue to the botched "Fast and Furious" operation, the dumbest federal program ever, and he may score a few off of Obama on it. Fast and Furious, you'll remember, was the program that had the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives essentially providing weapons to Mexican criminals so that they could track them, but instead they were used to kill people. Huh?
Obama agrees schools are important. They're both really stepping out on a limb there. The anti-family lobby just isn't getting the play it once (never) did.
The next question is going to be outsourcing, and the candidates's plans to bring jobs back to the United States.
Romney gets the first whack, and he says he wants to make it more attractive to make America an attractive place to do business. And he's going to whack China for not playing by the rules. I'm actually more on the side of Romney on this than most people. I've never really understood why we give Most Favored Nation trading status to a nation that treats us as badly as it does in its market, and so desperately needs our market.
Romney also says we need to lower corporate tax rates and get rid of some regulations, and Obama wants to do and has done the opposite.
Obama comes back with the argument that Republicans created the tax breaks for outsourcing that so many U.S. companies take advantage of, and lobby for. This has always been a much more complicated issue than either side wants to admit. The biggest cause of outsourcing is that people in other countries work for less money, which is not to say we shouldn't have tax rules that make more sense.
Crowley asks how we can get the Apple products like the iPhone made in America, which is hot button, but analysts say, a dumb question. Supposedly, perhaps 90 percent of the cost of an iPad rests in America, and the Chinese workers who make them get practically nothing. Who wants those jobs here?
Last question is, "What do you believe is the biggest misperception Americans have about you as a man and a candidate?"
Romney says Obama has characterized him as someone who doesn't care about 100 percent of people, kids, etc. Which since it was his own words that crushed him on this point -- "47 percent" and all -- it's silly to blame Obama for it.
Romney then pivots to his personal belief in God, which is a very odd, tone-deaf play, and then to how we don't have to settle for the economy as it is.
Obama says the biggest misperception about him is the idea that he believes government creates jobs. He believes entrepreneurs create jobs, but government makes sure everyone has a fair shot.
Romney, though, opened the door on the 47 percent comment, and Obama is going to go there, set up a camp stool and set for a spell while he recites a litany of wonderful people who make up that cohort of society. Who can blame him, I'd do the same.
Obama could not help but score on that question, and thus draw last blood.