Related: Our complete small business guide to the presidential election
This time, our panel of small business owners from each of the most closely contested states gave a slight edge to Obama, following a decisive victory for Romney in the first debate. Many commented on the president’s renewed energy and aggresive approach, and several were surprised by the exchanges over the recent attacks in Libya. Overall, repondents thought it was a more spirited and informative debate than the one two weeks earlier.
The panel consisted of one Obama supporter, two Romney supporters, one leaning toward Obama and one leaning toward Romney. The other four business owners remain squarely on the fence. Here’s how each of them scored the debate.
• Jessica Hadler Baines — Florida
President of American Business Group Business Brokers in Orlando
Reaction to the debate:
“Obama is back in the game, and we witnessed a true debate — not on all of the topics, but on many of them. I will not be surprised if we see the words “hope” and “change” return to the press. This event also showed the American public, I feel, that an election cannot be won alone with statistics.”
“Obama on immigration. Both candidates had acknowledged that there needs to be reform in the handling of both legal and illegal immigration. As a business broker who deals with entrepreneurs, including several families each year who invest in small businesses in order to move to the United States and get their children into our schools, I was surprised that it was Obama, not Romney, who best addressed this unique category of job creators. The backlog for the path to legal immigration has been reduced significantly, and these families in return for admittance to the country must create jobs for Americans. That’s good for our economy.”
Who won the debate? Obama, narrowly
• Olalah Njenga — North Carolina
CEO of YellowWood Group, LLC in Raleigh
Reaction to the debate: “
The town hall style debate provided an ideal forum for an interactive and interesting debate. The president was expressive and on point. Romney was combative and seemed to struggle as he attempted to get in verbal jabs. Romney’s sometimes awkward and ill-timed responses often eroded his credibility.”
“Romney had an opportunity to respond to the woman who asked how he was different than President Bush. Instead of immediately addressing her concern, Romney was more concerned with having time to respond to Obama’s remarks about women and contraception. Romney forgot that a town hall style debate is about speaking directly to the people who ask the questions, not about being a time keeper looking to get in the last word in a debate.”