Scores: Obama 80 | Romney 76
Judge: Jason Jarvis
It seems like Romney talks too much, which is odd b/c he was behind in total speaking time across the whole debate. This is the opposite of the last debate where it felt like Obama would never end a statement.
Candy Crowley does a decent job, but needed to be a little more assertive. The CNN ticker is fascinating b/c it makes it clear that viewers really don’t like it when the candidates talk over time and over the moderator.
Romney’s discussion of the need to change “culture” in order to solve gun violence could be dangerous going forward. He sounds like he is attacking single moms when he said: “If they are having babies, they need to marry someone.” Don’t be surprised if this ends up in an advertisement soon.
It is difficult at times to listen to a millionaire and a billionaire talk about the challenges facing ME (a middle class citizen) as though they really understand them. Obama cut federal subsidies for student loans for graduate students in this year’s budget and Romney has never had to choose between car repairs and dental work. It is difficult to not feel patronized.
So far, the person wearing the red tie has won both debates: Romney in debate #1 and Obama in debate #2. If I were an advisor to either candidate, I would take note and prepare accordingly. Dueling red ties in the last debate anyone?
Key Moments and Issues
This topic provided one of the most devastating moments for Romney. Obama called Romney out directly, claiming that Romney was offensive in politicizing the Benghazi attack before the government knew what was happening. The charge itself was powerful, but Romney’s response made the issue worse for him. While the President avoided a discussion of why more security wasn’t provided when it had been called for, Romney misquoted the President as having never called it a terrorist act until 2 weeks after the event. Candy Crowley corrected Romney leading to applause in the audience and the President’s successful defense of what appears to have been bungled security by his administration in Benghazi.
There was a lot of direct sparring between the candidates on this issue. Both candidates claimed to have “facts” that supported their side. I think that Romney is ahead here because he hits Obama hard on his rejection of the Canadian pipeline that would send oil directly to the US from Canada’s tar sands. Obama responds here by simply saying that we have “enough pipelines to wrap around the world” and then moves to a discussion of alternative energy!? As Canada has made alternate plans to build a pipeline to the Pacific that would then ship the oil to China, it is safe to say that Obama’s strategy on this issue is duck and cover.
Taxes and Women’s Rights
Obama is strong on both of these issues and seems very comfortable defending his own record and attacking Romney’s past positions. Romney appears defensive when trying to discuss taxes and still refuses to identify the deductions he would eliminate. Similarly on women’s rights he avoided talking about legislative issues and rambled about how he tried to hire women in his own companies. Romney failed to address the linkages drawn by Obama between Planned Parenthood and women’s economic well being.