Obama Bounces Back With Strong Showing in Second Debate

  • Share
  • Read Later
Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney participate in the second presidential debate, the only held in a townhall format, at the David Mack Center at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, Oct. 16, 2012.

With his presidency on the line, Barack Obama delivered a forceful performance in the second presidential debate Tuesday night, chiding Mitt Romney for failing to provide specifics about his policies and painting the Republican nominee as a more conservative version of George W. Bush.

Those who predicted the town-hall format of the Hempstead, N.Y., debate would inhibit the candidates’ attacks on each other were mistaken. In several sharp exchanges, including an early tussle in which the two candidates abandoned their stools and circled each other like wary prizefighters, Obama and Romney tangled over energy, immigration, Libya and their respective plans to shepherd the nation through a sluggish recovery.

From the opening bell, Obama pressed his opponent, who was widely judged the victor of their first showdown. Gone was the passive bearing that plagued Obama in that skirmish. When Romney touted the merits of his plan to create 12 million jobs, Obama scolded him for its haziness.

(MORE: Mark Halperin: Grading the Town Hall Debate)

“We haven’t heard from the governor any specifics,” Obama said. “If somebody came to you with a plan that said, here, I want to spend $7 trillion or $8 trillion, and we’re going to pay for it, but we can’t tell you until maybe after the election how we’re going to do it, you wouldn’t have taken such a sketchy deal. And neither should you, the American people. Because the math doesn’t add up.”

The former Massachusetts governor, whose commanding performance in Denver vaulted him into a virtual tie with three weeks to go before Election Day, had strong moments as well. He cast Obama’s four years in office in withering terms, pointing to the struggles of the middle class and stubbornly high unemployment, and he marshaled a case for why a second Obama term would be no different. “I think you know better,” he told a questioner who asked whether Obama could perform better if re-elected.

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, Oct. 5–11)

But Romney failed to match the dominance of his first debate, seeming peevish at Obama’s interruptions and appealing to debate moderator Candy Crowley for equal time. Asked directly by an audience questioner about where he deviated from Bush, Romney launched into a recitation of his five-point jobs plan, noting that Bush did not crack down on China, balance the budget or boost trade in Latin America, as Romney has pledged to do.

(MORE: Joe Klein: No Clean Winner in Debate)

Obama seized on that question to position Romney to the right of the 43rd President. “George Bush embraced comprehensive immigration reform. He didn’t call for ‘self-deportation.’ George Bush never suggested that we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. So there are differences between Gov. Romney and George Bush, but they’re not on economic policy,” Obama said. “In some ways he’s gone to a more extreme place when it comes to social policy. I think that’s a mistake. That’s not how we’re going to move our economy forward.”

It’s unclear how much the debate will reshape a tight race with very few undecided voters. In an instant CBS News poll of uncommitted voters, 37% of respondents said Obama won the night, with 30% backing Romney and one-third characterizing the skirmish as a tie. For Obama, however, it was a performance brimming with the kind of fiery rhetoric his supporters were craving. The President has described himself in the past as a “fourth quarter player.” In crunch time of his last campaign, he sank a very big shot Tuesday night.

MORE: Finally, Obama Makes the Case for Four More Years

200 comments
Rumionemore
Rumionemore

This person is our president. It's humiliating that he had a night so bad in his first debate that in most polls on his performance last night he is still neck-and-neck with his challenger. Sounds very much like the ObamaEconomy. "It's improving. It's not where we want it. But it's getting better. Really, it is." This guy lacks leadership. Why don't media own up to what most Americans have already recognized?

DisappointedViewer86
DisappointedViewer86

I watched the debate last night and was actually really disappointed. I was hoping to see either party clearly define themselves and try and win me over…and that didn’t happen.  Instead, of answering the questions posed to them and provide a full, in-depth analysis of their policies and expectations as future presidents, I just watched two grown men trash talking each other.  Did we really watch the same “debate”?

Scott Chappell
Scott Chappell

Obama missed a perfect opportunity to ridicule Romey's projection of 12 million new jobs over the next four years - his promise is being projected regardless of who's in the White House. *facepalm*

Derek Middleton
Derek Middleton

Most if not all of Romney and the GOP's support come from poor and/or disenfranchised white americans.    Romneys heart felt 47% comment may have alienated the millions of whites who had always gained self-respect by identifying with the class of the "productives" or "creatives," a world apart from the minority parasites they like to claim are exclusively people of color aka minorities.

JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

SOICOPATH Romney IS Biff Tannen, the BULLY in "Back to the Future" whose future is DARK, POLLUTED, CORRUPT, and full of DISDAIN and DISCONTENT.

VOTE to RE-ELECT President Obama.  VOTE the DEMOCRATIC TICKET.  I DID.

JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

SOICOPATH Romney IS Biff Tannen, the BULLY in "Back to the Future" whose future is DARK, POLLUTED, CORRUPT, and full of DISDAIN and DISCONTENT.

VOTE to RE-ELECT President Obama.  VOTE the DEMOCRATIC TICKET.  I DID.

Arizona3
Arizona3

I am so tired of the L I B E R A L M E D I A .....it's sad how desperate they are for Obama to win, but it's even more sad that the American people don't get the unbiased opinion they deserve. 

Sachi Mohanty
Sachi Mohanty

Hopefully

President Obama will have managed to silence the commentators with his spirited

performance during the second debate. Maureen Dowd won't be pointing to Barack

Obama's biographies in next column pointing out how the President is averse to

confrontation and how that's at the core of who he is.

 

I thought

the over-reaction to the 1st debate had been unjustified -> I knew Mr. Obama

will be in a feisty-er mood this time around since that's what the constituency

demanded. Mr. Obama stood up to the pretentious and oh-so-fake Romney without

appearing to be jarring or a bully -> both qualities that are the trademark of

Mr. Romney.

 

The

candidates got to almost a dozen questions with a tough-to-rollover Candy

Crowley as the moderator. On Libya, Romney was

particularly egregious as a foreign policy novice. On financial

matters and tax issues, Romney sought to show that he had a plan -> the only

problem was that this was a plan that is entirely distinct from the other plans

he has presented through the campaign season.

 

Romney

refused to even defend his own record as governor of Massachusetts -- on gun

violence for example. He had signed into law an assault weapons ban there but

he was not willing to stand up for that decision today.

 

On tax

policy, Romney's proposals simply do not add up -- the math doesn't work, as

President Obama pointed out. On the auto industry bailout, Obama defended his

own decisions which clearly saved a million jobs. Romney meanwhile sought to

distance himself desperately from W. -> and this from a candidate whose

policy seems to be 'Drill Baby Drill' combined with 'tax cuts for the rich.'

The voters are old enough to remember how the Bush tax cuts have worked out.

http://explainingindia.blogspo...

Twitter: @sachi_bbsr:twitter 

SAJ2995
SAJ2995

It was funny watching Obama trying to be "aggressive" for the camera, but keeping his anger in check.  

"But, but, but Candy"...

Hands down a more animated Obama was on stage last night.  Instead of drooling on the podium, he at least was able to roam across the stage trying to stalk Romney.  

Romney did miss one great opportunity which could have been the entire debate.  He could have stopped Crowley in her tracks supporting Obama's lies about Libya and the killing of an Ambassador by terrorists and not a bunch of "protesters to a video".  

But, we will be talking about this until the next debate which will totally focus on foreign policy.  We will dissect each and every word spoken since the attack on our Libyan consulate and how we have been lied to for nearly a month now.  

But two things emerged from that great question:  1.  Obama took responsibility.  He accepted for the first time in his adult life responsibility for his failure to manage a bad situation.  2.  He was caught LYING right on camera, and then pleaded to Candy girl for help.  

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.

No reference to the Benghazi attack as an "act of terror".  No reference to Benghazi being anything more than a violent protest which ended in the death of one of our Ambassadors.  

You can see it all spelled out right here in Jennifer Rubin's article on it today in the Washington Post, complete with Candy Crowley's walk back that she was wrong, and Romney was right.  

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

mhd52
mhd52

Bad news for liberals; CNN detailed poll:

Still, Romney won in key areas:

*On who would better handle the economy: 58 percent Romney; 40 percent Obama.

*On who would better handle health care: 49 percent Romney; 46 percent Obama

*On taxes: 51 percent Romney; 44 percent Obama

*On who is a stronger leader: 49 percent Romney; 46 percent Obama

*On who is more likeable: 47 percent Obama: 41 percent Romney

*On who cares more about your life: 44 percent Obama; 40 percent Romney

*On who answered more directly: 45 percent Romney; 43 percent Obama

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

My favorite "HolyCrap" moment was when Willard got himself all worked into a frezy at how cool he was for his plan to eliminate the tax on interest on savings, and on capital gains.  This, at the same time, proposing to eliminate the deduction for childcare and mortgage interest.  

It's telling of how out-of-touch he is with the audience and the middle-class in general.  As a card-carrying member of the middle class, I can affirm that I will be royally boned if I lose the mortgage deduction, and will reap zero-benefit from savings-interest and capital gains deductions.  

Having family a couple of miles from the debate venue on Long Island, I know first-hand that most everyone in the middle-class there has their entire nut tied-up in their house.  Maybe that's why Willard's proposal went-over like a brick.  I'm sure that those watching from the country club were cheering wildly.

Fumetti666
Fumetti666

There was no strong showing by Obama. He lied about Benghazi and got away with it due to his ignoramous buddy the moderator Jabba the Crowley.

Johnny Peteru
Johnny Peteru

The lords busy, please leave a message & she'll get back to you.

Hong Nguyen
Hong Nguyen

Lord and Mother of Jesus, please pray that we have a strong economy, very soon. Lord, Hear our prayers.

Disquskurr
Disquskurr

I have this feeling, Jim Lehrer's inaction screwed the 1st debate , as there was no moderation.

That allowed Romney to steal the debate with lies and typical "WallStreet' unethical brash-fulness.

If Jim Lehrer had been even 10% of what a moderator is supposed to be, there is no Romney, the pathological liar, would have gained an inch.

paulejb
paulejb

formerlyjamesm,

"I know what eunuchs are, but am not familiar with them.  I will have to defer to your knowledge, as would the media. And this has to do with President Obama, how?"

======================================

Obama's lapdogs, sycophants, cheerleaders or court eunuchs of the mainstream media. Take your pick.

Josephblow1
Josephblow1

Romney reall thinks the average American voter is a complete idiot by not telling them what tax deductions he will eliminate to pay for a $5 trillion dollar tax cut and $2 trillion increase n defense.  Some actually believe he has a plan.

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

Obama's personal wealth is estimated to be over $13 million dollars, so I'm sure he has a nice portfolio that he just glosses over from time to time between Newports 

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

I loved when Obama talked about immigration and then bailed on being called out for sealing the records on '"Fast and Furious". People died Mr. President, remember?

Obama lost again..

SAJ2995
SAJ2995

Remove the tin foil hat and open your ears.  

Romney said, "pick a number, i'll pick one $25,000 dollars in deductions and that will be the cap.  You can chose what deductions you want to take".  

So you have more than $25,000 to write off in mortgage interest?  I didn't realize trailer park homes cost that much now a days.

Steve0T
Steve0T

" Jabba"

Was that name taken from Ritt;s binder??

MomentoMori
MomentoMori

"Jabba the Crowley"

Yay! Fat jokes! That'll work! Women love fat jokes!

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

He didn't lie about anything - Mitt TRIED to lie by saying Obama didn't call the attack the work of terrorists in the Rose Garden, and the Moderator corrected him.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Keep repeating that lie all you want. This isn't a Fox chat room so not many will believe your BS.

anon76returns
anon76returns

I don't think that's entirely the case- first off, Obama undeniably came off flat in the first debate, which had nothing to do with the moderator.  Second of all, a lot of Obama's lead prior to the 1st debate was based on an unsustainably poor perception of Mitt Romney as a candidate.  Even if Obama had gotten a consensus 'win' in the 1st debate (on the order of what he got last night), I think the polls still would have tightened because Romney would have dispelled some of his poor perception.

.

I DO think that Obama could have helped his relative standing in the race by having had a better first debate, but I'm not going to blame the officials for his poor performance.

Fumetti666
Fumetti666

Yes, she Crowley actually lying live on national TV for Obama made her a better moderator? You liberals make me ill.

MrObvious
MrObvious

As predicted yesterday righties would talk nonstop about Libya (since Mitt flaundered that subject) and blame media for Mitts debate.

paulejb
paulejb

Josephblow1,

Income tax deductions come to about $ 1.1 trillion per year. Over ten years that adds up to $ 11 trillion. Plenty of room for maneuver there, Joe.

paulejb
paulejb

Josephblow1,

Income tax deductions add up to $1.1 trillion per year, Joe. That adds up to $11 trillion over ten years. Plenty of room for maneuver there.

paulejb
paulejb

JosephBlow1,

Income tax deductions add up to $1.1 trillion per year. That amounts to $11 trillion over ten years. Plenty of room to maneuver there, Blow.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 And he got that from selling books not gutting companies and helping to lower the standard of living for the American Middle Class.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Keep telling yourself that and yet Americans so the President take full accountability for Libya will Mitt stumbled around like the spineless coward that he is, shocked that someone should actually take a hard stand on something.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

All during the primary season, RR talks about closing loopholes and eliminating deductions...mortgage interest deduction included.  But I guess that we should believe this one statement as opposed to the litany of public remarks to the contrary.  That's one mother of an etch-a-sketch.

But you "miss" the point.  The deductions that he's all worked-up about  really only matter to those individuals who make most of their money through savings or investments (people like Mitt).  They have no bearing on the rest of us.

robbert5
robbert5

Please explain how you will pay for the remainder of about $4T of tax cuts?  This only pays for the first $1T.

Fumetti666
Fumetti666

I hope so...I have chin jokes for her as well.

Fumetti666
Fumetti666

Obama claimed a YouTube video caused it...how do I know? Obama and his gang spent $70,000 on an apology video to the Muslim world....SEVENTY G's and then sent Carney, Rice, and Hillary out to again STATE IN NO UNCERTAIN MEANS that it was the YouTube video that caused the spontaneous outburst that led to the 4 Americans dying. Crowley then admitted Romney was right when the debate was OVER!

anon76returns
anon76returns

Any link to explain where you think she was lying?

Steve0T
Steve0T

 You teabagging scums don't quite smell of roses either, sport. Time to crawl back to whence you came from.

paulejb
paulejb

MrObvious,

Mitt's indictment of Barack Obama's record of four years of EPIC FAIL likely decided the election in Mitt's favor.

ahandout
ahandout

 Paul, not sure if any Democrat understands that Obama comes up with his 5 trillion tax cut lie by multiplying the Romney plan x 10 years, and not allowing for the economic growth that the tax cut will stimulate.

Dems are low info voters.

Fumetti666
Fumetti666

How did he take full accountability, genius? He made Hillary take the fall, and this is after spending $70,000 on a video to apologize to Muslims for a video (and got the director arrested), and sent out Carney, Rice, and Hillary to say it was a YouTube video. You liberals will spin any lie!

anon76returns
anon76returns

You are a wonderful advocate for your cause.  Please petition Romney for an ambassadorship to the women-folk.  You'll be doing a great service for your country.

Steve0T
Steve0T

 "jabba"

Is that in Ritt's binder??

Fumetti666
Fumetti666

Where she defended Obama and said that Obama called it terrorism on the first day, when filmed evidence showed he only said terrorism shall not be tolerated. Crowley later admitted Romney was right.

anon76returns
anon76returns

And I'm not sure if any rightie understands that tax rates are the lowest in 50 years, and we still haven't gotten our visit from the magical growth fairy yet.  Inconceivable!

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 So mister "high information" voter how will Mittens pay for the 730 Billion in Annual tax cuts and additional military spending?

MrObvious
MrObvious

Not sure if any rightie understands that Mitt simply says 'trust me'. No details, no ideas. Just 'It'll work'.

Righties are low info voters.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

By standing in front of the whole country in a nationally televised debate and saying that ultimately this rests on him. He also slapped Mittens down like the cowardly child that he is when Willard attempted to politicize the issue yet again.