My take on the second debate
For my thoughts on the first debate and voting history, please refer to my previous blog.
Like I went into the last debate wanting to hear more about Romney's tax plan, I went into this debate wanting to hear how Obama re-architected his attacks on Romney's plan. In addition, I wanted to see how Obama would respond to the new pressure regarding the failed handling of the Libyan terrorist attack and response.
1) Economic plans -- I didn't think that Obama really came to the table with any new ammunition regarding the tax plans or new ideas regarding the economy. I think that Romney added a miniscule amount of new detail on how the program might work. Overall, not much new information here....not much additional pressure on Romney. I came out with pretty much the same opinion as I had going in. Romney continues to show and build upon his strength in understanding economics and job growth and continued to successfully point out the current weak economic environment --Slight Advantage Romney
2) Libya -- I thought this was a stunning success for Obama. With recent coverage and events seemingly serving up a variety of possible ways that Romney could capitalize on failed leadership and poor communication from the administration, instead, Romney got completely turned around by word semantics on what exact words that Obama used "in the rose garden" on the day after the event. Obama ended up looking like a capable, accountable, sensitive military commander and Romney ended up looking like a stammering idiot. I have taken time to be informed on this event, so it is still a black mark on Obama's leadership, but he did an *AMAZING* job of damage control last night. Not only did Romney not inflict any additional damage, he ended up somehow hurting his own case with his shell-shocked demeanor after being "corrected" on semantics by the moderator. Stunning. HUGE ADVANTAGE OBAMA
3) Adaption to Format -- Both candidates looked uncomfortable in this format. It's pretty clear that neither candidate spends significant time relating to everyday people. Both answered whatever questions they felt like answering, instead of tailoring their questions to the person who asked it or to the average undecided voter at large -- Slight Advantage Obama
4) The misperception question -- What an incredible softball question! A chance to set the record straight! Romney missed another huge opportunity to correct the perception that he's a rich guy that only cares about himself and other rich people. He spent far too much time attacking Obama during that segment, when he could have used that time helping people to see how down-to-earth and likable he "really is". Obama was slightly more effective with a first time attempt to show that he understood that businesses create jobs. He also spent too much time attacking, but his attacks directly refuted what Romney should have built as a personal safe haven. If Romney would have done his job with the question, Obama would have looked like a jerk for attacking him. This is not what happened. Slight Advantage Obama
To me, Obama was the clear winner of last night's debate. This debate will most likely win Obama the election. Romney missed huge opportunities to make perceptional ground in the areas of likability and foreign policy, despite being given ample opportunity to do so. Instead, Obama took back some momentum in those areas.