The second of three 2012 presidential debates ended last night with no mention of LGBT issues.
President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney engaged in a heated debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Tuesday night. Obama's showing left many supporters re-energized after the president's lackluster performance at the first debate two weeks ago.
It was the third debate of the campaign during which no questions were asked about key LGBT issues. Despite the fact that marriage equality will appear on the ballot in four states this November, neither candidate nor their running mates, Vice President Joe Biden and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, have been asked about LGBT issues. Only briefly did Obama mention the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during the end of the first debate.
It also seems increasingly unlikely that they will be asked about such issues during the third and final presidential debate, which will focus solely on foreign policy.
Obama is the first sitting American president to openly endorse same-sex marriage. Romney supports amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
Although marriage equality did not come up, the candidates sparred over a number of topics, including taxes, job creation, gun control and foreign policy.
Moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley, the two men took prepared questions from undecided voters at the town hall-style debate.
Social issues, such as women's issues and immigration, which were largely ignored during the first debate, were all addressed.
Marriage was only briefly mentioned by Romney, who argued two-parent families are critical to reducing gun violence.
"We need moms and dads helping raise kids," Romney said.
Answering a question about economic inequalities in the workforce for women, Obama voiced his adminsitration's opposition to discrimnation.
"We've also got to make sure that in every walk of life, we do not tolerate discrimination," Obama said. "That's been one of the hallmarks of my administration."
Obama and Romney engaged in several heated exchanges as well, with Romney at one point silencing the president.
"You'll get your chance in a moment. I'm still speaking," Romney said to gasps from some in the audience, according to a pool report.
Indeed, some of the most memorable moments of the night centered around Romney's performance. At one point, Romney said he sought out women applicants for positions in his cabinet when he was elected governor of Massachusetts.
"I went to a number of women's groups and said, 'Can you help us find folks?' and they brought us whole binders full of women," Romney said. The binder line quickly became an Internet meme sensation.
In an exchange over the deaths of four American diplomats in Libya last month, Obama looked directly at Romney and called his accusations that his administration had politicized their deaths "offensive." Romney challenged Obama's claim that he called it an act of terror shortly after the attack, only to have Crowley correct Romney to say Obama did in fact call the attack on the American consulate an act of terror.
Although many said Romney won the first debate, Obama polled slightly ahead of Romney in post-debate surveys of who won last night. According to a CNN poll, 46 percent of respondents thought Obama won compared to 39 percent for Romney.
Obama and Romney will debate a final time before Election Day at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., on Oct. 22.