In the follow-up Obama talked about "health care choices women are making." He didn't want to use the word "abortion" because Biden got him into trouble with the Catholic Church last week by misstating the law as it affects Catholic schools and hospitals. Romney countered with saying Obama was wrong in saying Romney wanted to deny women contraception.
A woman asked a question of Romney as to how he would differ from George W. Romney was ready for it and ticked off five significant differences including saying Obama was right about the deficits under the Bush years but then said, "but then [President Obama] doubled the deficits during his term."
I suspect Crowley wanted this question to make news, but Romney was ready for it and if he didn't hit it out of the park, he certainly hit it into the gap for extra bases.
This was a question that Obama should have been able to answer in his sleep - like during the last debate - but he struggled with it and ended up centering on China trade policy; something that is not a typical discussion at America dinner tables on a daily basis.
At the 2/3 point - at 10 o'clock, it seemed to me that Romney was more positive and … dare we say it … more specific than Obama. I understand I have a rooting interest in this, but I think this will have done nothing to change the track of the campaign.
The Benghazi question came up at 10:10. "Who was responsible for refusing enhanced security?" Obama had to take the question first, and didn't answer that particular question other to say that the foreign service represents him around the world. As he did with every question, he ended by talking about what Romney did wrong - that press release right after the attack.
Romney did a good job in suggesting the President did the right thing by taking responsibility (even if he has not) and said, in effect, these kinds of things will happen. But, then he pointed out that the next day Obama went to Las Vegas for a fund raiser.
Candy Crowley kept saying she wanted to move things along and get more people to ask questions, but she asked at least one follow-up to each question.
I'm not certain why Crowley chose the gun question to so late in the program. Both men appeared to be tiring and there's not much to say - neither one was going to say he was anti-Second Amendment and neither did.
90 minutes is way long enough for one of these events. Allowing it to run nearly 10 minutes over didn't add anything. I was as tired as the candidates were. In fact, by the last question (10:35) I was flipping back and forth between the debate and the Tigers/Yankees game.
As I said at the top, I thought Barack Obama did so much better that any fair viewer had to give him the win. But, that's not the big question. The big question is: Will this debate restart the support for Obama that has been racing away like the tide running out?
Or, did Romney do well enough to maintain a newfound confidence in him that caused such a significant shift in the polls?
We'll know that answer to that by the end of the week.
Just in time for the next debate.