I just finished watching the second debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney which took place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The debate was “moderated” by Candy Crowley.
Crowley could be more aptly described as President Obama’s tag team partner. She frequently prevented Romney from responding to Obama throughout the night and challenged him in a way she simply never did with the President (i.e. questioning whether Romney’s budget numbers would add up or on the “self-deportation” aspect of his immigration policy).
Crowley and her staff also selected the people who asked the questions and a vast majority of the questions were asked from a liberal-left point of view (i.e. equal pay, would Romney represent a return to the Bush Administration, deporting illegal immigrants, assault weapons ban).
Notwithstanding these conditions, Romney acquitted himself well for the most part and was certainly far more presidential than the incumbent.
President Obama was no doubt far more vigorous than he was nearly a fortnight ago and his performance was sufficient to reassure his base. But he was also petulant and prickly. Obama bristled at every criticism from Romney making him looksmall and thin skinned. Obama was also still making faces. He wasn’t as outrageous as Joe Biden but he drew negative attention to himself.
Obama was also far more audacious. He is the last person who should say with a straight face that we “need to be serious about reducing the deficit”. This from the President who increased the deficit by $5 trillion. Does anybody believe that Obama believes that free enterprise is the greatest economic systerm the world has ever known? Obama was especially audacious when he criticized Romney for “politicizing” national security. This is the same guy who has spent the past year and a half dancing on bin Laden’s watery grave claiming al Qaeda is on the run when al Qaeda is raising its flags over our embassies and consulates.
Speaking of Benghazi, Obama also claimed he called the attacks of September 12th acts of terrorism when he spoke at the Rose Garden the morning after the attacks and Crowley seconded his claim. Romney disputed this assertion and Obama responded by shouting, “Check the transcript.” So I did. The only time Obama used the word “terror” on the morning of September 12th was when he said, “No acts of terror will ever shake the great resolve of this nation.” But earlier in his remarks Obama was pointing the finger at the YouTube video, not al Qaeda. Obama said, “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence.”
The President also engaged in personal demagoguery against Romney. For instance, he assailed Romney for paying a lower rate of tax than a secretary. I wish Romney had explained the capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than regular income. Romney then could have pointed out that if Obama increase capital gains taxes he’ll increase taxes on millions of small investors many of whom are seniors.
Obama also assailed Romney for having investments with Chinese companies. Romney, to his credit, noted that his money was in a blind trust and pointed out the same was true of Obama. He then asked Obama if he had looked at his investments and if he had that he probably had some money invested in China as well. All Obama could say was that Romney had a bigger pension which made the President look envious and resentful.
I do think Obama deployed good strategy to mention Romney’s 47% remarks in his closing statements thus being assured that Romney could not respond.
Since Obama actually showed up and occupied a chair, the liberal media will hail Obama as the comeback kid. But I don’t think he kept the seeds of doubt that Romney germinated in the first debate from growing.
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