Carol Goldberg waited a long time to ask a short question.
Goldberg arrived at Hofstra University for the second presidential debate at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. More than 12 hours later, CNN's Candy Crowley finally asked her to stand up in front of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.
"The outsourcing of American jobs overseas has taken a toll on our economy," Goldberg said. "What plans do you have to put back and keep jobs here in the United States?"
"Boy, great question and important question, because you're absolutely right," Romney said. "The place where we've seen manufacturing go has been China. China is now the largest manufacturer in the world. It used to be the United States of America. A lot of good people have lost jobs. A half a million manufacturing jobs have been lost in the last four years. That's total over the last four years."
Romney's solution, he said, would reduce taxes and regulations for American entrepreneurs and big businesses alike. And he said that on his first day in office, he would label China a currency manipulator and eventually raise tariffs in cases where "they are taking unfair advantage of our manufacturers" via artificially low prices.
When his turn came, Obama said he and Romney agreed on lowering corporate tax rates, but that they would do it in different ways. "I want to close loopholes that allow companies to deduct expenses when they move to China; that allow them to profit offshore and not have to get taxed, so they have tax advantages offshore," Obama said, adding that Romney would only increase offshore tax advantages.
The president also suggested that Romney is a hypocrite. "In the private sector, Governor Romney's company invested in what were called pioneers of outsourcing," Obama said.
In a follow-up to Goldberg's question, Crowley asked the candidates how they would convince a great American company like Apple, manufacturer of iPhones and iPads, to make its products in the U.S. instead of China. Romney repeated his line about China's currency manipulation, and added he would stop China from stealing U.S. intellectual property.
"Candy, there are some jobs that are not going to come back," Obama said. "Because they are low-wage, low-skill jobs. I want high-wage, high-skill jobs. That's why we have to emphasize manufacturing. That's why we have to invest in advanced manufacturing. That's why we've got to make sure that we've got the best science and research in the world."
Reached at home by The Huffington Post on Wednesday, Goldberg, who lives about 20 minutes from Hofstra in Woodbury, N.Y., said she appreciated both candidates' answers.
"It was great," she said. "It was a question that I really wanted the answer to for a long time and I thought the candidates answered it fairly well."
But she liked Obama's answer a little better.
"The gist of Romney's response is they're not supposed to do this, whereas President Obama spoke a little bit more directly to the issue because he mentioned that he wanted to close loopholes, and he also mentioned he wanted to bring science and technology and manufacturing to the U.S."
She liked Obama's dig at Romney's private sector work: "It's true he’s done the very thing we're trying not to do."
And Goldberg liked Obama's remark that "some jobs aren't coming back," even though the Romney campaign used it against Obama after the debate, saying in a press release the president had given up on his job growth promises.
"Honestly, he did say, look, some jobs aren’t coming back, and I believe that's true," Goldberg said. "I thought that was a very good answer."
Goldberg said she runs an office for her husband, who works as a financial services headhunter. She said their health insurance premiums have seen double digit percentage increases each of the last three years. She doesn't know whether Obama's health care reform law will ameliorate that problem or make it worse.
Still, Goldberg said she's leaning a little closer to voting for Obama as a result of the debate, though she's still thinking it over. She has three weeks to make up her mind.