President Obama rebounded with a much stronger second debate performance, debunked the lies of Mitt Romney, and likely took control of this election.
The first question came from a college student who asked about getting a job after graduation. Romney’s answer was that he would create jobs because he knows how. President Obama gave Jeremy a detailed answer about building manufacturing jobs, and immediately hit Romney on his wanting to let Detroit go bankrupt. Obama said that he wants to make sure that everybody can go to college, and talked about building the energy sources of the future. Romney’s answer was trust me on job creation, while Obama had a plan.
Candy Crowley proved that she will be thorn in Romney’s side by asking him what he would do for the immediately unemployed. Romney went into his 5 point plan that would not actually create any jobs, and falsely claimed that fewer people are working than when Obama took office, and that Obama bankrupted Detriot. Obama called out Romney’s first lie by saying what Romney said wasn’t true, and it would have cost a million jobs. Obama also blasted Romney’s 5 point plan as actually being a one point plan for the wealthy. Obama hit Romney on Bain.
The next question was about the Energy Department lowering gas prices. Obama responded by talking about his achievements in traditional energy, increasing fuel standards, natural gas, the role of efficient energy in lower gas prices. Obama hit Romney for letting Big Oil write his energy policy, and discussed new energy. Romney used his time to launch into another attack on Obama and delivered no policy of his own. Romney promised to get North America energy independent in eight years. Romney claimed that Obama’s energy policy failed because the price of gas has gone up. Obama said gas prices were down when he took office because the economy was in a state of collapse, and Romney could lower gas prices again by collapsing the economy. Romney then started whining at the moderator.
The third question was on the Romney tax plan, and exactly what deductions he would eliminate. Romney claimed he wants to bring the tax rates down for the middle class, and said he is going to eliminate deductions and credits for people at the high end, and claimed that one way of doing it would be to give people a lump sum of deductions. Romney then thought the middle class would benefit from a zero tax rate on interest, dividends, and capital gains. Romney claimed he won’t cut taxes on the rich or raise taxes on the middle class. He also claimed that the middle class is going to see a $4,000 tax increase under Obama.
Obama has gone after Romney repeatedly on his lack of specifics on his tax cut plan. Obama also scored big points by using a question on how Romney differs from Bush to point out that Romney is proposing a more radical move to the right than George W. Bush ever did. Romney’s plan for the entire debate was present Obama as a failure without actually offering any specifics of his own. I would love hear what the undecided voters in the hall actually think of Romney non-answer song and dance routine.
On immigration, Romney went against the Republican Party and totally changed his position by claiming to support a legal answer for those who are here illegally. Obama did an excellent job throughout the first hour of the debate both discussing his accomplishments and handling Romney’s lies. This is a completely different performance compared to what we witnessed in the first debate from this president. On immigration, Obama hit Romney of self-deportation and opposing the Dream Act. Romney then immediately backtracked and claimed that he favors self-deportation. Romney went back to his Chinese investments, and claimed they were in a blind trust.
Obama was asked about Libya, and hit Romney for trying to score political points on the issue. The president used his answer to emphasize that he means what he says. Romney replied by trying to blame Obama for everything, and tried to insinuate that the president was intentionally trying to mislead the American people. Romney tried to turn the tables on Obama by claiming that he was troubled by the fact that Obama attended fundraisers the day after the incident. (Romney’s strategy continues to be to attack Obama, and give no details about what he would do.) Romney brought up the long debunked right wing talking points that Obama has apologized for America and leads from behind. Obama smacked down Romney’s talking points by playing the Commander in Chief card. Romney claimed Obama never called it an act of terror the day after the incident, and Candy Crowley corrected Romney and told him he was wrong.
The question turned to assault weapons, and Obama suggested that an assault weapons ban could be proposed again. Romney responded by being opposed to any legislation that would limit access to guns. Romney brought up Fast and Furious, as he was desperately trying to use every right wing conspiracy against Obama. It is ironic that Romney signed the nation’s first assault weapons ban, but he claims to oppose the assault weapons ban. Candy Crowley asked Romney why he flipped-flop on the assault weapons ban. Romney claimed the ban was bipartisan. Obama came back and said Romney was for an assault weapons ban before he was against, and he changed his position in order to get the NRA’s endorsement.
Mitt Romney got a question about outsourcing, and delivered his stump speech about making countries around the world play by the rules. Romney claimed that cutting corporate taxes will make employers want to be here. This was some low hanging fruit for Obama as he claimed Romney’s tax code changes will create jobs in China, India, and Germany. Obama then leveled Romney for investing in outsourcing. Obama debunked Romney’s claims about currency.
The last question was about misconceptions, and Romney screwed up by bringing up his 47% comments, and claiming that he cares about 100% of America. He gave the soft sell of his bio, and claimed that he will balance the budget and get America working again. Romney’s answer was almost a desperate plea to vote for him. Obama used his answer to debunk the right wing idea that the president thinks government create jobs, and that he is some kind of socialist. Obama reasserted his control of the campaign narrative by using the 47% comments against Romney, and told America to think about who he was talking about. (In one swoop, Obama restored himself to the mantle of fighting for the middle class.)
Romney’s weaknesses were seriously exposed during this debate. Candy Crowley wouldn’t let Romney get away with the same tricks that he used in the first debate, and the governor at times went off the rails. Romney’s performance was long on salesmanship and short on details. Obama upped his game, and Romney brought more of the same.
Romney didn’t gain any ground tonight. He probably lost ground against a very strong, and very presidential Barack Obama. Act II of Romney’s smoke and mirror show didn’t get it done, and I suspect that Democrats will come back home to the president, and his support may bump up especially in swing state polls.