By Sandra Long Weaver
President Barack Obama did not do as well as some African-American community leaders had hoped in the first presidential debate last week. But his performance may have been part of a strategy that will allow him to have a stronger presentation in the next debate was the consensus of a community forum.
The Tennessee Tribune hosted its first community forum last Thursday, the day after the debate with five African-Americans from the Nashville area. You can watch the full discussion, which has been divided into two segments, on this website.
Participants were Sharon Langford, a retired Treasury employee and team leader for the Madison/Rivergate Obama for America committee, former Nashville city councilman Sam Coleman, Harold Love 58th District state representative, Attorney Joy Sims who is on the Davidson County Executive council, Rep. Brenda Gilmore of Davidson County. The discussion was narrated by Sandra Long Weaver, editorial consultant for the Tribune.
“I did not think Gov. Romney was the clear winner at all”, said Rep. Gilmore when asked her reaction to the debate. “I wish the President could have been a little more assertive and come in before the fourth quarter.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Sims who would also like to have seen him be more assertive.
Coleman is hoping the President’s laid back presentation will encourage more people to get registered and to come out and vote. “He did not want to come off like an angry black man,” he said.
“There is a clear difference between the two candidates,” Love said. “For Obama the issue was not to come off too aggressive but to allow Mitt Romney to give his explanation of the issues.”
And Langford felt Romney was saying that he wanted to repeal Obamacare and not deal with poor people or take care of the 47 percent of the population that he’s written off. During the discussion, most agreed moderator Jim Leher was not in control. “It even got to the point where I didn’t know what the set up was any longer for the debate,” Sims said.
The next community forum will follow tonight’s vice presidential debate.