After most polls declared Mitt Romney the clear "winner" of the first debate of the 2012 presidential election, the pressure was on President Obama to deliver a stellar performance during the candidates' second face-off on October 16. The town hall-style debate was also an opportunity for the candidates to address issues neither had the first time around, namely reproductive rights, the pay gap and access to contraception.
Leading up to Tuesday's debate, there was also lots of speculation about how Candy Crowley, CNN's chief political correspondent and the first female presidential debate moderator in over 20 years, would fare. Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote about the significance that Crowley's role has for women in particular:
On the heels of [Martha] Raddatz’s smooth, steely performance last week, there’s genuine excitement about what Crowley will do as the first female presidential debate moderator in 20 years. And after two debates in which women’s issues have barely even been mentioned, there’s a palpable sense of anticipation over what the veteran newswoman, who said just days ago that the moderator “needs to take control” of the conversation, will do ... Crowley understands that this is a huge milestone for women in journalism, and she’s OK with that. Better than OK. She’s going to make it count.
And count it did. "My goal is to give the conversation direction," Crowley said at the beginning of the debate, and she followed through on that promise by asking follow-up questions as she had indicated ahead of time that she might and effectively redirecting or cutting off both candidates when they got off track. Romney and Obama addressed the difficulties college graduates face getting jobs, energy efficiency and oil drilling, tax rates, the deficit, the gender pay gap, women's health, trade with China, immigration policy, the attacks in Benghazi, gun control, job outsourcing and education.
Mitt Romney was the first candidate to utter the word "women" in a presidential debate this election cycle, but Obama managed to get in a zinger or two about Planned Parenthood and Big Bird. The president also brought up the government's role in ensuring access to contraception and reproductive health services without being asked. "Governor Romney feels comfortable having politicians in Washington decide the health care choices that women are making. I think that's a mistake," he said. Romney defended himself, "I don't think bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not, and I don't believe employers should tell someone whether they have contraceptive care or not."
Romney also seems to thinks that women come in binders.
Women had a lot to say on Twitter about the second presidential debate. We've rounded up some of the best tweets here.
LOOK: Women React To The Second Presidential Debate On Twitter