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Post-debate thoughts: What wasn't said

October 17, 2012: 10:33 AM ET

No mentions of A123, Bain Capital or housing.

FORTUNE -- A few business-related thoughts from last night's presidential debate:

* I am simply dumbfounded that Romney didn't bring up A123, particularly given how much time he and Obama spent discussing energy policy. This is a company that received hundreds of millions in government loans, which went bankrupt on the very day of the debate. Maybe Romney has some history with A123 that I'm not aware of – the company is based in Massachusetts – or perhaps he was worried that Obama would counter with Romney's gubernatorial loan to Evergreen Solar. But, still. Those are small risks compared to the rhetorical reward. No matter how you view the DoE loan program in general or A123 specifically, this thing was gift-wrapped for him.

* Romney at one point said that he "came through small business," prompting a bunch of Twitter snickers. But I think it's a fair claim. Bain Capital began life as a fairly small enterprise, even struggling to raise its initial fund. And Bain Capital's initial investments were in small businesses. Obviously there is some nuance here – particularly the part where Romney had a back-up job at Bain & Company if Bain Capital failed – but he should be able to legitimately claim small business on his resume. And, as time went on, big business too.

* Notable words
 we didn't hear at all: Housing, poor, Federal Reserve.

* Not quite sure how
 "leveling the playing field" with China will cause Apple to begin manufacturing iPads in Sheboygan. Unless Romney meant that we should pay American workers less. Don't think "currency manipulation" is why Apple is over there…

* For the second straight debate, Obama failed to specifically mention Bain Capital. But he did allude to it – or at least to dividend recaps -- by saying "You can invest in a company, bankrupt it, lay off the workers, strip away their pensions, and you still make money."

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Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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