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Four More Words

Barack Obama left one on the table in his otherwise fine response to the abortion question in tonight's debate:

What ultimately I believe is that women in consultation with their families, their doctors, their religious advisers, are in the best position to make this decision. And I think that the Constitution has a right to privacy in it that shouldn't be subject to state referendum, any more than our First Amendment rights are subject to state referendum, any more than many of the other rights that we have should be subject to popular vote.

What's missing? Our Second Amendment rights. It was a perfect opportunity for Obama, unprompted, to demonstrate his gun rights bona fides. (John Kerry missed the exact same chance in response to the exact same question four years ago, though at least Obama didn't make Kerry's mistake of then overtly skipping over the Second Amendment and citing the Fifth Amendment instead.) It would also have been a great way of reminding swing voters ambivalent about abortion that the nice-sounding proposition of leaving everything up to the popular will can be a double-edged sword. I thought Obama's performance was generally strong, and undecided voters apparently agree, but that was a hanging curveball and he whiffed.

--Josh Patashnik