Regardless of Who “Won” the Debate, Women Clearly were the Losers

Regardless of Who “Won” the Debate, Women Clearly were the Losers

Wednesday night we editors had a little fun attempting to “live blog” the first Presidential Debate. Since none of us know how to do this on the blog itself, we used the Nursing Clio Facebook page. I also contributed to the debate “backchannel” on Twitter. Since my Twitter feed isn’t linked to our blog, I thought I would compile some highlights for readers of Nursing Clio.

First some pre-debate humor: On Twitter, @RexHuppke cracked: It would be funny if someone replaced Mitt Romney’s microphone with a transvaginal ultrasound wand. #debate2012

Wouldn’t that be hilarious?!  Maybe they should do that for everyone who tries to pass a bill like the one that was just defeated in Virginia?

On a more serious note, @Tenured Radical asked, Remember when these debates used to be run by the non-partisan League of Women Voters? #debate2012

If the LWV had run the debate, maybe there would have been some discussion of women’s issues.  As you can see from the transcript, neither the candidates nor the moderator mentioned any of the topics that are at stake for female voters.  I suppose President Obama has enough of a lead with women  that he can take us for granted (again!), but one would think that Romney at least would have done something to narrow the gender gap.  Sure, we heard about individual women.  President Obama mentioned the woman he met in North Carolina, “who decided at 55 to go back to school because she wanted to inspire her daughter, and now has a new job from that new training that she’s gotten.” He also thanked Michelle for making him the “luckiest man on earth;” and gave tribute to his grandmother who “was fiercely independent. She worked her way up, only had a high school education, started as a secretary, ended up being the vice president of a local bank. And she ended up living alone by choice. And the reason she could be independent was because of Social Security and Medicare. She had worked all her life, put in this money and understood that there was a basic guarantee, a floor under which she could not go.”

Governor Romney provided anecdotes about a woman in New Hampshire who couldn’t afford health insurance for herself and her son; and a woman who came up to his wife Ann at a rally “with a baby in her arms and said, Ann, my husband has had four jobs in three years, part-time jobs. He’s lost his most recent job, and we’ve now just lost our home. Can you help us?”

When it comes to issues that affect women as a whole, however, there was nothing. It’s too bad the candidates couldn’t take questions from Twitter.  It would have been interesting to hear answers to questions such as the one from  @WomWellWatch: “@MittRomney What’s your plan for women with breast cancer who don’t have insurance? @BCAction”

Well, at least, as @jfruh put it, “Mitt Romney doesn’t want the government running your non-sex-related health care.” So, relax guys, no transvaginal wands for you.

I was rather surprised that Governor Romney brought up Romneycare so many times.  One surprising fact he didn’t mention, via  @AmandaMarcotte: “Only real diff between Obamacare and Romneycare is Romneycare covers abortion.” Really? Does Paul Ryan know that?!

@PPact reminded us that “Thanks to #Obamacare, being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. bit.ly/T3iz4P #debates”

True, but that’s small comfort if you still can’t afford health care under the so-called Affordable Health Care Act. [did I mention the woman from New Hampshire?]

At the end of the debate,  @Motherjones said, “Sorry, women of America. Maybe you’ll get a mention in the next debate. #sigh #fem2

The second presidential debate, at Hofstra University on October 16, will be a town hall format.  Gallup, will you please select voters who will ask questions that we women voters want answered?

Featured image caption: Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney in Denver Presidential Debate. (DonkeyHotey/Flickr)

Heather Munro Prescott is Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University. She is the author of The Morning-After: A History of Emergency Contraception in the United States, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2011.

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