Cool, calm and collected like the affable Clark Kent, Romney prevailed with smiles a plan (create jobs, reduce debt, reform tax code and entitlements) and tried to actually answer voters’ questions erstwhile calling out Obama on his “spin.” In contrast, Obama’s responses devolved into the same stump speeches, White House talking points and campaign rants we’ve all heard before: fair share, evil rich people, more investing/spending, no new plan, four more years of this.
Asking the first question of the night, a 20-year-old college student named Jeremy said he wanted to know how the candidates would make sure he gets a job when he graduates. Romney responded by reminding Americans that 50% of all college graduates are currently under or unemployed and that’s “unacceptable.” If elected president, Romney told Jeremy he would focus on creating jobs and making college affordable like he did as Governor of Massachusetts.
Obama answered with a monologue of oft repeated talking points on how bringing manufacturing jobs back home, the auto bailout, investing in wind and solar energy and infrastructure would create jobs. To which CNN moderator Candy Crowley responded, “Let me ask you for a more immediate answer.”
Romney followed up with his five-point plan to create 12 million jobs, including reforming the tax code so Americans have more money to spend, which in turn boosts economic growth. With no new plan of his own, as the liberal Washington Post even admitted , Obama, full of fire and brimstone, retorted with his hackneyed refrain that Romney has a one point plan to protect the rich.
Obama repeated the now well-debunked “lie” that while Romney was at Bain, he bankrupted companies and shipped jobs overseas. By this point, the American people are thinking you can do better than this.
Throughout the night, Obama maintained an angry, stern demeanor, simmering with animosity toward Romney. In contrast, Romney always prefaced is answers with smiles and when he challenged Obama did it forcefully minus Obama’s Grinch like expressions.
More than a few sparks and verbal fistfights filled the debate with some dramatic moments. In the exchange over oil drilling at home, Romney pointed out Obama has made oil, gas and coal his enemies. Under Obama, oil production has declined by 14%, permits for drilling have been cut in half, and a job-creating pipeline from Canada was blocked. Obama punched back that oil production was up and jobs have been created.
Up. Down. Up. Down. Like a ping-pong match, the two went back and forth on oil production with Romney cornering Obama, forcing him to admit he cut drilling licenses and permits on federal land and post debate fact checkers agreed production is down by 14%.
Obama repeated his tale that Romney’s tax plan would add $5 trillion to the deficit despite the fact that his own campaign has walked back from that claim and it’s been debunked by several economists. As in the last debate, Romney told Obama that his 20% tax cut plan across all incomes would be paid for by closing the loopholes in other deductions and reminded Americans Obama has blown a bigger hole in our debt, adding $6 trillion to it in almost four short years. When Obama became president the debt was $10 trillion, now it stands at $16 trillion.
The most dramatic exchange of the night came when a voter asked Obama why extra security had been denied the US consulate in Benghazi. Instead of answering the question, Obama launched into a lecture about how he would bring the criminals to justice who killed our diplomats and attacked the consulate, then accused Romney of trying to “make political points” in issuing a press release on the attack.
Romney shot back that the day after Ambassador Stevens was killed, the first time this a US ambassador was killed, Obama “flies to Las Vegas for a political fund-raiser, then the next day to Colorado for another event, other political event.” And Romney added it took “a long time” for Obama to call the act a terrorist attack.
The president asserted he called the attack a terror attack the very next day in an appearance in the Rose Garden. To which Romney unleashed a blistering response exposing Obama as a liar. Romney reminded the president that it took him 14 days before he called it a terrorist attack.
Forgetting she was a moderator and not a debate participant, CNN Moderator Crowley showed her bias and inappropriately interjected the president was “in fact” right and had called it an act of terror. To which Obama praised Crowley for throwing him a life preserver and asked her to “say it a little louder.”
ROMNEY: “This — the administration — the administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction.
CROWLEY: It did.
ROMNEY: It took them a long time to say this was a terrorist act by a terrorist group. And to suggest — am I incorrect in that regard, on Sunday, the — your secretary –
ROMNEY: Excuse me. The ambassador of the United Nations went on the Sunday television shows and spoke about how –
OBAMA: Candy, I’m –
ROMNEY: — this was a spontaneous –
This was one of the most damning exchanges to Obama. Romney looked confident and trustworthy while Obama came across as a cad doing everything to protect his job, including lying about what caused the deaths of four diplomats in Libya. As the dust settles on the charade of punditry analysis, which ruled the second presidential debate a tie, I think the polls will reveal another Romney surge because no one, least of all voters, likes an angry man, full of blame with no plan. That’s what Obama is.