President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, met in Hempstead, New York on Tuesday night for their second televised debate before November’s election.
The stakes were particularly high for the incumbent whose lackluster performance in the first debate in Colorado two weeks ago disappointed many Democrats.
The Atlantic Sentinel‘s Daniel DePetris said both candidates seemed prepared on virtually every issue.
President Obama was far more aggressive and persuasive than he was during the first debate but Mitt Romney again performed well.
While much of the debate was focused on domestic policy, Obama clearly won the foreign-policy section, DePetris said.
When the Libya issue came up, he provided an answer that was abundantly supported by many in the room. But what he also did was frame Romney’s argument on the terrorist attacks as mired in politics. The Republican failed to offer a convincing rebuttal.
Steve Keller agreed this was Romney’s most unfortunate surprise of the night.
What was potentially his best issue, the consulate attack in Benghazi, was blunted by Mitt Romney overplaying his hand, resulting in an impassioned response from President Obama decrying the Republican for accusing his administration of politicization and a quick, on the spot fact check from Candy Crowley.
Chief Editor Nick Ottens said Obama’s strong criticism of Romney almost made him seem the challenger.
As in the previous debate, the president didn’t say much about what he would do in a second term but was aggressive this time, perhaps too aggressive for the centrist, blue-collar voter in Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin whom he must persuade that his program is one of jobs, not left-wing ideology.
Romney’s argument was pretty straightforward. We don’t have to settle for unemployment at a chronically high level.” Ottens admitted it wasn’t inspiring.
Romney’s strategy is to appear competent. It’s doubtful if that’s enough to get him the 270 electoral votes he needs to win in November.
Romney has trailed the president in national opinion polls as well as most of the nine critical swing states where neither party holds a decisive lead. He has managed to close the gap in Virginia and is even ahead a bit in Florida. Obama still has a two-point advantage in Ohio. These three states, with a combined thirty electoral votes, could determine the outcome of the presidential election.