Game, Set, Obama

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

President Barack Obama laughs as he talks with audience members after the second presidential debate at Hofstra University.

President Obama did what he needed to do tonight. He took the debate to Mitt Romney. He was relaxed, even jaunty, as he scored one point after another. He seemed to be enjoying himself at Romney’s expense. He looked more comfortable and commanding as the debate wore on, while Romney looked more stiff, edgy, and salesman-like.

Obama needed to remind voters that Romney is a very rich man out of touch with regular people, and he did that well. He got in Romney’s face and he got under his skin, but stopped just short of being overly aggressive. 

You could tell right from the beginning that this was a very different Obama. When Romney touted his five-point plan to fix the economy, Obama responded scornfully, “Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan, he has a one-point plan” and that plan is more tax breaks for the very rich who are allowed to play by different rules.

Obama was particularly effective at using Romney against Romney. He demolished the former Massachusetts governor's bogus arithmetic on the tax cuts, as Obama failed to do in the first debate and even a more aggressive Joe Biden did not quite do. And he used Romney’s support for more tax cuts for the very rich to remind the audience that with $20 million dollars of annual income, Romney pays a lower rate of taxes than they do.

Obama also got the tone just right—something midway between bemusement and indignation. There was not a shred of the less-attractive disdain and detachment that marked his first debate.

The town hall format helped, because it produced questions that were hard for the candidates and their handlers to anticipate. Most of Romney’s gaffes have been ad libs in response to spontaneous questions from voters. Obama is somewhat better off the cuff, as he clearly was tonight.

Romney helped the president out by making a few unforced errors. Obama was clearly vulnerable on the Benghazi attach. His initial response was not all that persuasive because it ducked the question of who screwed up by failing to honor the request for more security. But then Romney saved Obama’s bacon by alleging that the day after the attack, Obama was still calling it a protest in response to an offensive video. 

It fell to moderator Candy Crowley to correct Romney, a too-rare factual intervention by a debate moderator, which knocked Romney totally off his game and diverted attention from the legitimate issue of why more security was not provided. Obama had also missed an opportunity to point out that it was the Republican House that cut the administration’s request for embassy security by $300 million, which could have settled the issue right then and there.

But Obama had few other missed opportunities, and he was at his best when ad-libbing. Another entirely unexpected question from the audience was directed at Romney, demanding what the differences were between him and former president George W. Bush. Romney did a halfway decent job at improvising answers. But then Obama deliciously pointed out that even George W. Bush did not try to turn Medicare into a voucher program, or to deal with immigrants by making their lives so miserable that they would "self-deport," or to defund Planned Parenthood.

Another unforced error that unintentionally revealed something of the true Romney came in response to a good question about discrimination against women. Romney plunged into a lame discussion about how, as governor, he had reached out to find qualified women, and had even allowed his assistant to get home in time to make dinner for her family. He sounded like a white male would-be liberal circa 1970. It got even worse when he argued that a stronger economy would open up more opportunities for women because employers would be looking hard for qualified workers even if they had to provide flexible working hours.

Romney’s unintended subtext seemed to be: If we can provide more jobs, employers will even be willing to hire women! He sounded patronizing, and way out of date.

Another good unscripted question came on the subject of the ban on assault weapons. Romney talked around the issue. Obama got off another good line when he pointed out that Romney was in favor of a ban on assault weapons before he was against it. Moderator Crowley helpfully added that such weapons had been banned before a Republican Congress repealed the ban.

Obama managed to show resolve and toughness, and to have a good time doing it. For someone who allegedly shrinks from confrontation, he landed one good punch after another.

It makes one wonder how he could have been so totally off his game in the first debate. I was very skeptical at first when some commentators suggested that he hadn’t gotten into Denver a day or two in advance of the first debate and might have been logy from the change in altitude. I recall flying into Denver for the 2008 convention and being very fatigued for a day.

Whatever the explanation, Obama has more than recouped.


The desperation of the panic stricken Media cohorts of the criminal organization of democrats cannot save the serial lying smug arrogant *rick in the White House. They have exposed themselves as the enablers of their party of perpetual fraud. They only have themselves to blame. They willingly pickled themselves and crossed the point of no return.

Love it. Contrary to how this article is spun (way out of control, mind you) Barak did NOT do what was needed for the democrats. He needed an overly decisive win, much like the crushing that Governor Romney delivered in the first debate. He pulled a draw which will not stop Romney's momentum, never mind turn it around. Barak's record, both foreign and domestic, is his worst enemy. And Barak's ridiculous comment about the retirement: "My retirement's not as big as yours." I would have responded, "That's because I've WORKED for mine."

Killing Bin Laden is not a foreign policy.
Cutting the DoD budget costing hundreds of thousands of government jobs that the private sector is not ready to pick up is disatrous. One of my favorite lines he uses is "cutting funding that the military didn't ask for." How out of touch are you, you joke? He is willing to bring the military back to 1976 when my father was serving and making so little in pay that as a family we qualified for foodstamps.
Blaming the past administration for HIS failed economics is not a domestic policy.
Covering up the murder of our ambassador in Libya, a security officer and two former SEALS is not presidential leadership. By the way, saying, "Acts of terror will not be tolerated," and actually calling it a terrorist attack in coordination with Al-Qaeda is not the same thing. If it was confirmed as terrorism the day after (as the moderator protected Barak from getting blistered on), then why was Rice authorized to go out on 5 networks and call it a result of a bad video protest? The buck stops with every OTHER president apparantly. Barak called it offensive - I'm offended by his last 4 years as a do-nothing president.
Investing billions of taxpayer money into green energy that's gone bankrupt is not a recovery.
Keeping a large share of General Motors for government control is not free enterprise.
No future vision other than crafty oration and campaign slogans will not get this country's spending under control. When you spend more than you make, you lose. Economics 101.

This is what happens when a socialist academic professor is elected to the highest office in the country.
I saw a ludicrous headline in one of the leftist communist magazine's calling Obama the democrat's Reagan. Are you on crack?! Obama is the democrat's Stalin and his adminstration is the Politburo. All hail Barak's United Socialist States of America.

And Barak's ridiculous comment about the retirement: "My retirement's not as big as yours." I would have responded, "That's because I've WORKED for mine."

How hard does somebody have to work to be worth $250 million? I wish Romney would go with your idea. Romney: "I am worth $250 million because I worked for it." I'm guessing that would go over so well with the middle class. The implication being that you're not worth $250 million because you didn't work for it. Ya, that's a winner.

Cutting the DoD budget costing hundreds of thousands of government jobs that the private sector is not ready to pick up is disatrous.

Wasn't it Romney who said government doesn't create jobs? So you disagree with him, huh?

One of my favorite lines he uses is "cutting funding that the military didn't ask for." How out of touch are you, you joke? He is willing to bring the military back to 1976 when my father was serving and making so little in pay that as a family we qualified for foodstamps.

So you are advocating for government jobs. Welcome to the fold comrade.

Blaming the past administration for HIS failed economics is not a domestic policy.

Hmm, must have watched a different debate than you did. In the one I watched, Obama didn't blame the Bush administration for anything. He should have, but he didn't.

Covering up the murder of our ambassador in Libya, a security officer and two former SEALS is not presidential leadership.

As has been noted elsewhere, if it was a cover-up, it was the worst cover-up in the history of cover-ups.

Investing billions of taxpayer money into green energy that's gone bankrupt is not a recovery.

No, clearly we should be investing it in the military and government jobs, right?

Keeping a large share of General Motors for government control is not free enterprise.

Again, I wish Romney would go with this. Romney: "The government should not have invested in GM. We should have let the market solve the problem. And when it was clear that no private investors were willing to invest, which was the case, we should have let them go under." Ya, that would win Ohio for him.

This is what happens when a socialist academic professor is elected to the highest office in the country.

Oh, if only he were a socialist.

I saw a ludicrous headline in one of the leftist communist magazine's calling Obama the democrat's Reagan. Are you on crack?! Obama is the democrat's Stalin and his adminstration is the Politburo. All hail Barak's United Socialist States of America.

Now that's just sad.

How many years have you served in the armed forces?

Correct. But he sure helped Romney!

obama has already lost the election. He is the only rich person responsible for making people's lives more difficult. He became president because nobody knew what he would do. Now, everyone knows.

Game, Set, Obama. You mean game set Romney. Obama lost the debate because he could not tell us what his vision is for the next four years. All Obama has is lies.

The 2nd Debate:

Once again, Obama's campaign theme seems to be this:

"Don't listen to Gov. Romney as to what his plan is.....what he will do if he becomes the president.......I will tell you what his plan is.....You see, Gov. Romney is a liar, he is rich, and he is only in this to help the rich people get richer."

And, Obama goes on to say all the good things he has accomplished in his administration. Obama says he did X and Y for women, and, of course, Romney is against women. Obama says he did X and Y for Hispanics, and of course, Romney is against Hispanics. Obama says he did X and Y for (fill in the blank), and of course Romney is against (fill in the blank).

So, according to Obama, Romney is a liar, and he is a bad guy, against a whole lot of people who don't look like Romney.

And WHY should the American people believe all of these things about who and what Romney is?

Well, because Obama is TELLING them WHO Romney IS, and WHAT Romney will DO! ......................................

BUT, isn't there a SLIGHT PROBLEM with Obama's message that the American people should believe Obama about who Romney is and what he will do as president, rather than listening to Romney tell us who Romney is and what Romney will do when he becomes president?

And that problem appears to be the obvious evidence that Obama and his administration has been very busy these past few weeks concocting and disseminating to the American people and the Whole World a BIG LIE about just what happened in Libya where four Americans were brutally murdered in a preplanned terrorist attack.

For close to two weeks following the attack, we witnessed the Obama administration tell us and the whole wide world, VERY EMPHATICALLY, that the killing of four Americans in Benghazi was:

1) The result of a spontaneous demonstration in front of the Benghazi consulate facilities.

2) This demonstration resulted from the reaction to an obscure video placed on the internet which slurred Islam (even though hardly anyone saw the video, before the Obama administration advertised it and made it prominent).

3) This demonstration got out of control and turned violent....or........armed terrorists became aware of the demonstration and used it as a cover to attack the consulate.

4) There was NO indication that the attack was a preplanned terrorist attack by armed terrorists.

President Obama even stated to the world that the USA was sorry for this obscure video made by a private individual and the US government had nothing to do with it.

That is the gist of the BIG LIE......and the Obama administration was sticking to it....until what really happened started to leak out.

Now, the story is changing, and Obama and his administration is, once again, LYING to the American people by CLAIMING that, NO, we never said what we fact, Obama CALLED the attack a terrorist attack the very day after it happened!

This is what the heavy-set moderator, Susan Crowley, said when she jumped into the debate last night, and, essentially, accused Romney of getting it wrong about Obama NOT calling the attack a terrorist attack that day in the Rose Garden of the White House........and, her bold statement, quite unusual for a moderator, wouldn't you say?..... was, apparently, the reason for a surprise round of applause, from, apparently, Obama supporters in the supposedly neutral audience (shouldn't Obama be left to answer his critic...why the need for the moderator to suddenly jump out of her roll as a moderator? score a point for the team?).

Of course, the American people have been watching the Libyan story as it has been unfolding...from day one they have been watching……...and, from day one it never made sense, (in fact, to many Americans, the administrations storyline was preposterous from day one) that a demonstration in response to an obscure video which almost no one saw, resulted in the deaths of four superlative American citizens.

From day one the American people listened to the Obama administrations storyline with increasing skepticism.

From day one the media passively accepted the Obama administrations storyline, until that storyline started to unravel.

Now, the moderator of last nights debate has stepped in, and added her two cents to the fabricated storyline, and said, incorrectly, that Obama himself did, indeed, call, or imply, IMMEDIATELY, that the events in Libya WERE a planned terrorist attack. But, the problem is that Obama did NO such thing. And, so, Susan Crowley, the MODERATOR, jumped in to support Obama with another….LIE.

And, so, here we are once again. The media will surely be attempting to tell the American people that Obama carried off the second debate quite well. We are told that the take away we are supposed to have from the second debate is this:

Rely on OBAMA to tell us WHO Romney is, and WHAT his plans are if he were to be the president, rather than rely upon Romney to tell us these things.

And the reason we should rely upon Obama to tell us these things rather than Romney?

Well…..well….apparently, because we can rely upon Obama to tell us the truth.

It would seem to me that Romney could fend off this attack by telling us what he would do.

Have you watched the debates? Romney is the only one that puts out a plan (5-point plan)? All Obama does is try to tell us why Romney's plan will be worse than his. Every time Obama says, "We're going to..." I have to ask "Why haven't you...?" to answer your question. Now, that was pretty easy wasn't it? It's called google and common sense.

Obama won in the sense that he was seen as signficantly improving on his performance in the Denver debate; Romney was seen as having done somewhat less well. Nevertheless, the snap poll shows only a slight plurality, overall, for Obama and with Romney viewed as ahead on a majority of individual issues. Also, the moderator was widely seen as biased. The debate did Obama some good, but I don't think it won the election for him.

Game, Set Match?
On the economy, Romney beat Obama by 18% in the CNN poll and 21% in the CBS poll.
The CNN poll had Romney up on handling taxes (7%) and the budget/debt (23%)
CNN poll on if candidates had a clear plan - Romney was -1 (49-50) and Obama was -23 (38-61)
Romney even led on health care (49-46), being a better leader (49-46), and giving direct answers (45-43)
Obama led on being likeable (47-41) and who cared more about the questioners (44-40)
PPP CO poll on whether view of candidates were more positive after debate: 40-36 (+4) Obama, 44-35 (+9) for Romney.
PPP CO poll on who better understands people like you: 50/50 tie.
Did Obama offer a clear vision for solving the country's problems?
38% Yes
61% No
61% No. Wow.
How about that asked about Romney?
49% Yes
50% No

Tell me again how Obama dominated the debate.

Lib pundits feel will say he won because he showed up and didn't completely fail.
It's like running home from school to show off the C's and D's on your report card.


Talk about arrogance; Obama said, "these aren't just representatives of the United States, they are my representatives". How about, "these aren't just my representatives, they are representatives of the United States". Making himself more important than the country, now that's an insult to the 100%. Says a lot about a person.

Absolutely correct.

Essays like this are one of the reasons that political incivility is at all time high, and why average Americans, like me, find holding discussions about political issues acrimonious and, ultimately, meaningless. By all means, given an opinion about the relative strengths and weakness of the debate performance of each candidate. However, when you take this analysis imbed it in a prognostication about the outcome of an election and one-sided confabulated cheerleading for one candidate, you've become a propagandist.

It's interesting that I've read various versions of these same Mitt-Attack Puppy talking points on every progressive site that's commented on last night's debate. Big Dan's ad hominem attack on the moderator was an interesting addition but true to the general form.

what a hysterical column!
Talking about 300million cuts to State Depts budget as the payroll for the 2 Libyan kids providing security at Bengazi on 9-11 was approx $46. Yeah that's right $46.
"it fell to Crowley to correct"?? Well Crowley has since corrected herself and declared that Romney was in fact correct..... this going to change your headline any??
Bttmline: Women are enraged at what happened in this debate: The country is falling apart and Obama continues to insult them by offering Contraceptives as a solution.
Romney is going to win in a landslide.

Exactly correct.

Obama now has my vote. I looked between my legs and saw I am female. He is going to give me free contraceptives. Mean old Richie Rich Romney wants to keep me barefoot and pregnant and not being able to pay for birth control. And if I need another free abortion due to one of the guys I'm sleeping with knocking me up again, I know Obama will provide that too. I am woman, hear me roar.

Well put. But that's not all Stephanie!! He will also add legions of American women to the swelling roll of welfare recipients. Give them a cell phone. Pay for their college. Not only that, should one have to look between her legs because, looking down, her chest is not sufficiently endowed to give it away, his new healthcare plan will make somebody - anybody - pay for her breast augmentation.

Check his "Life of Julia" web page. He has a plan for the poor, helpless, incompetent women out there. We men will tend to taxes, spending, and foreign policy. As you so ably point out, you gals are only interested in unscrewing (so to speak) the inconvenient result of all that sex you're having . . . Now kick off your shoes and get back in the kitchen! :)

But Obama didn't defend his own record - he avoided it like the plague it is! Obama saying stuff isn't going to make a difference: his record speaks too loudly.

We've been had by our own media. Everywhere I look in the media I see heaps of anti-Romney sentiment. I don't see much of any anti-Obama sentiment. This does not mean that Romney is bad and Obama is good - just that the media is far from providing Americans fair and balanced coverage.

They reference polls weighted unrealistically towards Democrats - above even 2008 levels. They fail to report the independents flocking to Obama though it's right there in the polling. They invent "gaffes" for Romney all the time which prove to be nothing more than his words taken ridiculously out of context. They've created a Romney that doesn't match up with the real man at all. Hence the unnecessary surprise at the first debate - we've been sold a lie. By the way, I've read dozens of personal accounts of Romney and they all agree that he is kind, generous, helpful, honest, hardworking, thrifty, and funny. And of course they don't report Obama's many failures in office.

Read both sides for balanced coverage because you sure won't find it in one place and both sides leave stuff out. How can you make an informed opinion on any topic if you consider only one point of view, flawed by definition? You can't. Thanks for listening.

Romney lost his cool. The mask dropped and an aging prep school bully and arrogant scamster was revealed.

Looks like you've attracted quite a group of trolls with this piece. There's nothing like the desperation that exudes from a group of wingnuts who know they picked a bad candidate. Nov. 7 is going to be fun, can't wait!

Really, the president is playing to his base for the last two debates, and you are calling those who are wining desperate. Hello, Gallup has Romney up by 6 points. Romney is winning independents in every poll. Obama is hoping just to get his followers out, and he has given up on trying to win the middle. Romney on the other hand has already moved the base, and now he is moving independents. Any Democrat that has convinced themselves this is not bad news for Obama will be shocked on Nov. 6. You know the middle decides elections - this is how it has always been - if this is not the first election you watched.

Wow, the delusion runs strong in this one. Check out the early voting results loser.

BTW - Obama's base IS the middle. Only the rich and the stupid vote GOP, which group are you in?

You think Nov. 7 is going to be fun, just wait until Jan 20th when we kick Obama out of the White House and see a man worthy of the job deliver his first inaugural!

Willard is going home shill. He can't even make headway in a state where he was governor.

ROBERT KUTTNER must have been watching a different debate to me an millions of others.

CNN polled registered voters, not just undecideds.
Economy: Romney wins 58-40%
Health care: Romney wins 49-46%.
Taxes: Romney wins 51-44%.
Deficit: Romney wins 49-36%.
Strong leader: Romney wins 49-46%.
The worst news is that 25% of voters switched their vote to Romney and 25%

And on equal pay?

LMAO!!! Mr. Kutner, you and the rest of the wingnuts must have watched a different debate than the rest of us. In the debate held here in the real world and not in liberal la-la land, Mitt Romney decisively defeated Barack Obama.

He did so primarily by hammering him over & over again on the crappy economy, the sky-high unemployment rate (which Romney correctly pointed out is actually well into the double -digits if all those who have given up looking for work are considered), the gas prices that have doubled since 2008, and the obscene deficits that Obama has piled up.

Obama was better than in his first debate, I'll grant you that. But like Joe Biden did last week, he way overdid the "aggressiveness" thing. Like Biden, he came across as rude and pushy to many independent voters in the middle, even with "moderator" Candy Crowley running interference for him whenever possible. (How is it that in a supposedly "impartial" debate setting, one candidate ends up with a full 4 minutes more talking time than the other one?) In short, Obama acted like a prize fighter who was entering the 12th round knowing he was behind on points and needing a knockout to win. The attempt to interject the "47%" thing at the end was pitiful and the focus groups didn't like it.

By contrast, Mitt Romney was calmer, cooler, and generally more likeable. In these two debates, he has completely negated millions of dollars worth of negative advertising by the Democrats seeking to define him as a cold, stiff, heartless "vulture capitalist". Now that the Democrats can't define Romney as the devil incarnate any more, Obama's going to have to run on his record .... and that's bad news for Obama. Very bad.

The bottom line is that Obama came into last night's debate needing a clear-cut victory and he didn't get it, no matter how much the liberal bloggers might try to spin it as such. At the very best, it was a draw. Romney's momentum was not blunted at all. The late deciders are continuing to break for Romney just as they do for the challenger in any presidential election.

You guys better get used to the sound of "President Romney" for at least the next four years.

Im with you on this, but I can see why liberals liked it. The problem is this; what liberals like independents usually do not like. Obama is still trying to get his base out, why Romney is moving the center and picking off Democrats. This is good news for Republicans.

They liked it because Obama didn't look as pitiful as he did last time and because he was a bit more like Biden, rude, dishonest and condescending. The undecideds saw it. On the issues, they swung significantly to Romney. As for Obama? We gotta let him go.

Obama did not get done what he needed to do. He should be trying to get independents. You know why? Of Course you do! But for your readership you will keep spinning. Obama will not win with Democrats alone, he needs independents. However, Romney is winning this group by large margins. You will not have enough Latino and minority voters to make up for what Romney is getting right now.

Now since Obama/Biden are playing to the base, can you imagine what the polling is telling them. Romney is playing to the center, this should worry all Democrats/liberals,Progressives.

I took odumbo's advice, I read the "benghazi/rose garden" transcript (link below). He did NOT call benghazi a "terrorist attack". Near the end of his speech he made general reference to "terroris attacks"

once again, odumbo stood in front of the American people and LIED.

Apparently the author doesn't get the point of these debates. It's not to score "points" but win votes. Romney won the same points he won in the first debate, which started the momentum. Obama Lied on Libya & Energy policy, two of the other non-jobs issues.

Winning style points by lying, insuring the debate will be about his lies til the next debate and beyond, will just fuel more votes for Romney, as the new poll shows:

Romney 51% - Obama 45%

Gee, I would never have guessed that all these Repub comments came from people who actually watched the debate. Dems weren't thrilled with Obama's first performance and we let him know. Romney's performance last night was pitiful. Same old used car sales pitch... You people have to realize, just because he's protecting the rich doesn't mean that YOU'RE going to be rich. Suck it up, acknowledge your neighbor and realize we're all in this together.

You may want to suck the teat of Government largess dry with nary a care who funds your dinner, but other people don't want to go that route and we find class war fare very distasteful.

Yo- Romney paid tax on that income before it was invested, then paid again on the div's he received, so to say he pays less than those in the audience is patently FALSE. He has in fact been taxed twice... But your a lazy lib regurgitating Obama talking points so you'd never bother to learn this.

I'm sorry, but with brains like yours, why would the right claim any real knowledge of anything financial? Romney may or may not have paid taxes on his invested money (without years of tax returns to view, we have no way of knowing), but more importantly, what he is taxed on now is the NEW INCOME from the investements, not the investments themselves. His tax rate on his new income for 2011 was at a 14%, far below what the average wage earner pays. And this is on top of the fact that he doesn't work to make that income, he just collects the checks. Is it really fair that I work 60 hours a week as a nurse to support my five kids, and pay a 22% federal tax rate and he doesn't work at all, makes 20+ million and pays a 14% tax rate? Only a wannabe would claim they think that is good for America.

Women cannot be complacent. The results of this election have great consequences for women. Please join together and prevent these dark-age teapublicans from sending us back to the pre civil rights era.

Your post is very exciting and informative. I am planning to decide on a career move and this has helped me with one aspect. Thanks man!

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