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OVERBECK: Female voters get the hots for Romney

Strong debate performance closes the gender gap

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Mitt Romney's approval among women has soared by 18 points since the presidential debate, according to Pew pollsters. The two contenders are now tied among the must-win voters who make up 53 percent of the electorate. The gender gap died last Wednesday night and no wonder.

To see Mr. Romney -- strong, smart and rational -- up against the most powerful man on Earth, who stammered, dithered and generally looked like he longed for his bunny slippers and his blankie, was a revelation. Many realized they had been duped by the Obama attack ads that branded Mr. Romney an unfeeling, clueless plutocrat.

Instead, what we saw on that stage was the real Mr. Romney in action -- his shining sincerity, his intelligence and his genuine understanding of what this nation must do to prosper once again. Women saw an alpha male who has spent his entire life applying his smarts and organizational talent to thorny problems. Women are drawn to alpha males because they supply exceptional genes for our future generations. In politics, that translates to this: The most successful and competent competitor will be the best national leader.

Alpha males are good at what they do. Women are good at what we do so we appreciate that quality in others. We're the ones who pay the bills in most households, raise the children and make the financial decisions. When Mr. Obama says the next four years with him will take us down a road that's harder and longer than the road we've been on the past four, we start looking for the off-ramp. We're worried about filling the car with gas that costs us double under Mr. Obama, worried about whether we'll lose our jobs in this failed Obama economy, whether we can afford to keep our homes or send our children to college -- and the president is telling us to expect more of the same.

We're hearing a common-sense plan from Mr. Romney: Cutting taxes spurs business growth because it leaves more spending money in consumers' pockets and more hiring money in companies' hands. Increasing domestic gas production lowers prices because of the iron law of supply and demand. In contrast, Mr. Obama has displayed woeful ignorance of these most fundamental drivers of our economy. Shouldn't we expect our nation's chief executive to comprehend the basics that we common folk do? If he's that empathetic guy who cares so much about us, why does he tell us we're "doing fine" when we're getting massacred?

An alpha male is not only supremely competent but also principled -- a man of moral integrity. When Mr. Romney said the $16 trillion national debt is a moral issue, women knew he understood that's just how we feel. We refuse to doom our children to a lifetime of crippling taxes that hurt their chances for a good life, especially when billions that will become their debt are funneled to the president's donors and pals whose green-energy companies quickly go bankrupt and who keep our money. Mr. Obama promised that, if elected, he would cut the deficit in half, but he didn't even make an attempt. His wild spending has the deficit stuck at over $1 trillion a year, with nearly $6 trillion added to the national debt in less than four years.

Another attribute of the alpha male: He protects his woman, and as POTUS, protects his nation. He doesn't allow secret intelligence to be leaked to The New York Times to polish his reputation as a tough guy. He would never endanger allies and empower enemies to make himself look good. He would never call a terrorist attack that killed four Americans a random riot to avoid admitting a humiliating foreign policy failure. His focus is on the security of his beloved country, not his re-election, and he knows there's no such thing as leading from behind.

Mr. Obama's one ringing courage credential, the killing of Osama bin Laden, apparently occurred only after he had called off the Pakistan compound raid three times, and only after his secretary of state talked him into pulling the trigger. Can anyone visualize Mitt Romney bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia?

Never has our nation been in such need of an alpha leader, someone who steps forward to seize responsibility for a country in collapse.

Private companies, and even the Olympics, have called on Mr. Romney when they were in deep trouble. More than once, he turned disaster into success. His entire life has been about turnarounds. Now the women of America are looking to him to save our nation and our children's futures. His meteoric rise in our esteem is as simple as that.

Joy Overbeck is a Colorado journalist and author.

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