Analysis Of Obama Vs. Romney: The 2nd Debate

It was almost a given that Obama would be better in the second debate than he was in the first one because it was hard to see how he could get any worse. You had to expect improvement. Moreover, after Obama’s crushing loss, Biden’s crazed performance in his debate, and a movement in the race towards Romney, you knew that the media would be dying to declare Obama the winner as long as his eyes were open. Additionally, there was tremendous pressure on Candy Crowley to help Obama out — and she did. Multiple times during the debate, Crowley acted like a fullback trying to lay a block on Romney so that Barack Obama could spring loose and get up the field. Not only did she select questions that were designed to protect Obama, she jumped in to help him out on Libya, Fast and Furious and when Mitt Romney was noting that Obama had investments in China and the Cayman Islands. It was one of the worst performances by a moderator in any presidential debate this year.

Getting past Crowley’s execrable assist to Obama, Mitt was, well, Mitt — while Barack was much better and much more aggressive this time around. In fact, the two of them started really going back and forth early on energy policy. Calling it “contentious” would be an understatement.

That was probably the harshest exchange of the debate, but both Obama and Romney went after each other on almost every question. Although each of them scored points, Romney drew more blood overall.

Candy Crowley jumped in to try save Obama during the last one, when Romney was humiliating Obama. Despite attacking Mitt again and again for having a Cayman’s Island account and investing overseas, Obama has been doing the exact same thing.

Rather irritatingly, Candy Crowley also leapt into a dispute between Obama and Romney over when Obama admitted that Libya was a terrorist attack. She didn’t cover herself with glory during that exchange.

Long story short, this was a much more even debate, although Romney won. Obama was much more aggressive, but his attacks were mostly canned talking points. Anybody who’s paid attention at all has already heard all of them and, as per usual, it’s much harder to criticize someone for what he says he’s going to do than it is to hit him for what he’s already done. So, if Romney says he’s not going to raise taxes on the middle class and you say he is, people tend to believe Romney. On the other hand, Obama has a terrible record that he really wasn’t able to defend very well. Romney hit him again and again on that record and kept reminding people that Obama has been in office for four years.

My initial sense is that this debate probably won’t move the needle very much, but it should still help Romney because after all, it’s late in the race and he has the “Big Mo” on his side. Obama didn’t stop that momentum tonight and if there are voters who don’t want to vote for Obama, but aren’t sure if Romney is a plausible alternative, they will reassured that he is by tonight’s performance. So, all in all, this was a good night for Romney even though it wasn’t the same sort of savage beating we saw in the first debate.

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