The second presidential debate was an undeniable comeback for President Obama from an underwhelming performance the first time out. With so much on the line, and a great deal of ground to lose, the president returned to form. Not only by setting Governor Romney straight on his misrepresentations, but also doing more to control the conversation.
Romney tried to use the same strategy from the last debate, and it did not serve him. This town hall style format was more based on having to answer the questions pitched from the audience, and he failed to do that. He looked like an empty suit giving a business presentation to employees, not someone jockeying for votes. President Obama, on the other hand, came off forceful but not angry. One of the highlights of the night was when he got tired of Romney insisting he said one thing on Benghazi and stated “Get the transcript” That was an intellectual chin check for real.
Romney did really not help himself with how he answered many of the questions tonight. When it came to the issue of women and equal pay in the workplace, Romney handled that poorly. President Obama was able to answer the question and quite skillfully weave in the Lilly Ledbetter Act. Governor Romney, clumsily responded to the question of hiring by noting that he had “binders of women” to search for qualified employees. Ugh. Talk about turning subjects into objects. It just came out… wrong. It is already a meme. That is a pretty good indication of how terrible it sounded.
On top of all that, the issue of the 47 percent comment came up. President Obama really hit him hard over that, ending the debate with the issue. This was a clear win all around. No question. Whether it was health care, the tax issues, Romney looked bad on all of these points. Not once did we hear a feasible plan from Romney. All we got were talking points about “leading from behind” shoehorned into a discussion where uncommitted voters wanted answers. This was not the time for a repeat performance on the Governors part. All in all Obama came much stronger, and energized his base around the issues of energy concerns among other things. Definitely a more interesting exchange, and so much to pour over in the next 24 hours. I am sure more will be heard on the gaffes, highlights, and low points of tonight. So, lets end off with asking the obvious question: Who do you think won this second debate?
Marc W. Polite