President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney finished their second debate on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
While President Obama came across as tepid and uninterested in the first debate, he was enthusiastic and confident in the second, following a strong debate performance by Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden provided much needed passion against the Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. He pointed out a hypocrisy of the Romney-Ryan ticket by explaining Ryan’s two opinions of the stimulus. Ryan criticized the stimulus package as unnecessary government spending, yet requested and received money for his home district from the White House. Biden also confronted the assertion that the President’s policies would be bad for small businesses because 97 percent would see no changes to their taxes.
Biden articulated that the most important job of a sitting president is keeping the United States safe and secure. Obama has done just that by ending the Iraq war in a responsible manner and refocusing the fight on al-Qaeda, which executed the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Both presidential candidates stated in the debate that they support Pell Grants, but Obama’s commitment to higher education goes beyond that. He recognizes the need for student loans because he utilized them himself. Through his AmericanGraduation Initiative, he has proposed that community colleges partner with employers to create programs that re-train workers for jobs that exist now. This will build an economy that supports the middle class and allows students who may have dropped out of school to get a second chance.
While Obama cited his stimulus package as a major achievement toward growing the economy, what often goes unmentioned in these national debates are the ways this has impacted research institutions that rely on federal funding. The Recovery Act and the Obama administration’s commitment to the federal support of research has brought to date $41.8 million to UR. This money was invested in science and technology that keeps the country competitive in a global market and builds an economy that strengthens the nation in the long run.
Although the President agreed with an undecided voter during one of the debates that times are tough and that the middle class has been hurting in the past decade, he presented a straightforward plan to restore the middle class. This will be accomplished by investing in education and manufacturing while using the savings from ending the wars to reduce the deficit in a balanced manner.
The reason why supporters and undecided voters alike were rejuvenated by Obama’s spectacular performance in the second debate was not his challenging yet respectful demeanor, nor the fact checking by the moderator. It was the promise that he would keep his commitment to higher education and keep America secure.
Obama has proven time and again that he is working his hardest to fight for the middle class and bring this great nation on the path to recovery. He deserves a second term and is counting on our support.
Rajeev is a member of the class of 2016.