The Hiller Instinct: Final Debate
O'Brien ran into trouble right away, and never recovered. Her first exchange with moderator Tim Russert about her support for letting 16-year-old girls get abortions without parental consent put her on the defensive:
Shannon O'Brien (D) Gubernatorial Candidate
"I think that we need to make sure that every single woman, young woman, has an opportunity to control her own health care decisions."
Tim Russert, Moderator
"You would allow a 16-year-old to go have an abortion without judges or parents?
"Sixteen and older."
Mitt Romney, (R) Candidate for Governor
"I am in favor of retaining current law which is the age of consent remaining at 18."
That led to an argument about which candidate is more pro-choice:
"I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose."
"I think you have to stand on your record and I think you have to stand on the statements you made, and I think you've been running away from those statements."
"I've been standing on my record throughtout my career."
"You don't have a record, it's one of waffling."
Unfortunately for O'Brien, she was the one who waffled tonight... and ultimately wilted, apparently from frustration:
"Would you consider as governor allowing localities to raise their property taxes?"
"Let me just ..."
"Just answer the question first."
"No Iím not going to be tinkering with Prop 2 1/2...but you have to have real numbers and the numbers that Mitt Romney just put on the table here. They are completely pulled out of the air."
"It would be really great if I got to speak for what i believe and she got to speak for what she believes... so..."
"But you don't tell the truth about what you support..."
Shannon O'Brien was impatient, petulant, even petty - while Mitt Romney was poised, positive and better under pressure. Even if you support O'Brien, and agree with her positions, it's unlikely she made you proud of her.
O'Brien may still win this election, but she lost this debate, and it wasn't close.