Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama met for their second of three debates. This one was held on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. So after watching and wrapping up the live chat I was participating in here are some quick thoughts on how I thought round 2 of the Obama-Romney debate went.
- I hated the format. Normally I don’t mind town hall debates, but this was poorly run. CNN’s Candy Crowley not only disregarded the debate contract, but did so in a way that favored President Obama by directing more follow-up questions to him, giving him more time, and actually took sides on the Libya issue.
- What was with Governor Romney wearing a blue tie and President Obama wearing a red one? That messed me up.
- Some of the questions seemed like plant questions like the one to Romney as one questioner put it she didn’t like President Bush and so how is Romney going to be different. Governor Romney answered the question well, but it was an eye roll moment for me.
- Neither men answered questions directly very well, but that’s par for the course for politicians. Both were aggressive, but neither were rude. Governor Romney had a solid debate overall. He drew blood on numerous occasions, and he was effective in painting the Obama administration as ineffective.
- President Obama actually showed up for the debate this time which for some liberals will translate into a win.
- Governor Romney provided contrast between himself and President Obama on taxes, energy policy and tax creation, and had a very solid answer to the gentleman who was a former Obama supporter in 2008, but was undecided this year. The question was directed at President Obama originally – “why should I vote for you.”
- On the discourse about women that was initially about income disparity. President Obama doubled down on violating religious liberty by lauding his HHS mandate. Not a winning issue for him.
- President Obama also repeated the falsehood about Planned Parenthood performing mammograms when he said, “There are millions of women all across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings.”
- He also was incorrect in his statement that President Bush opposed cutting Planned Parenthood funds.
- We discussing energy President Obama touts increasing domestic oil production, but only 4% of that was on federal land.
- Mitt Romney provided more substantive answers and his experience was more credible on job creation and taxes.
- Crowley’s not allowing Mitt Romney to respond to President Obama’s accusation regarding Mitt Romney’s investments in China was appalling. When he brought it up during another answer she tried calling him on it, and President Obama tried to object. Mitt Romney’s answer was reasonable and he should have been allowed to respond to President Obama’s outrageous accusation earlier.
- Governor Romney had a missed opportunity with Libya. There were points he should have brought up that he didn’t. President Obama’s answer did not match up with the official timeline and their narrative kept changing. He didn’t explain why his campaign sent out the negative press release about the Embassy attacks. He could have explained that they sent the press release prior to having knowledge of the attack in Benghazi. Crowley also injected herself and corrected Romney which come to find out she was incorrect.
- Governor Romney’s answer on the final question which gave each candidate the chance to clear up a misconception about themselves. President Obama used his final answer to bring up Romney’s 47% comment which was a good strategy for him.
Overall, not taking into consideration how one believes about the ideas each candidate espoused it was a much more even debate than last time. I would consider it a draw – liberals will likely call it a win. The Romney camp will probably call it a win. A CNN snap poll showed that 46% believed President Obama won the debate and 37% thought Mitt Romney did. Frank Luntz had a focus group where most of the former Obama supporters swung their vote for Romney. So take each for what they’re worth. I don’t believe this debate will do much to change polls as neither candidate can declare a decisive victory.