One of the most significant moments in the debate actually came after the debate. Moderator CNN’s Candy Crowley admitted, shortly after she left the debate broadcast, she was wrong in her assertion during the debate President Obama was correct in his terrorism characterization of the 9/11/2012 Libyan attack, on the U.S. embassy that left four Americans murdered, as an “act of terror” on September 12 in the Rose Garden.
Ms. Crowley acquiesced Romney was actually right in his debate challenge to Obama on this point.
For clarification, President Obama did use the words “act of terror,” but he was referring to the original terrorism attack on 9/11/2001 in context, not the Libyan 9/11/2012 attack.
Ms. Crowley’s interjection into the debate on this point allowed Obama to escape his real record on refusing to acknowledge the 9/11/2012 Libyan attack was a terrorist attack on America for at least two weeks.
One of the other most significant aspects of the second presidential debate was its confrontational style in a town hall format. After his detached, low-energy performance at the first debate, President Obama had a higher bar to meet to stay in the game. He obviously took the debate preparation more serious this time around.
Obama was more assertive in his style, but he brought nothing new to the table in defending his record as president the past four years. He was not able to make a case for an “all of the above” energy policy even with a very combative exchange on onshore and offshore oil drilling permits, the Canadian pipeline, failed green energy, and doubling consumer gas prices.
Obama and Romney pushed each other’s buttons. They both got in each other’s faces and interrupted each other. They both talked over each other as well as the moderator at times. They both fought for the microphone time.
It was obvious both knew the stakes of momentum for their campaigns after the debate. But, the bottom line stakes for the American people is they want to believe their next president has solutions for the current prolonged weak economic growth and unacceptable high unemployment and underemployment rate. This is the forward momentum they want in 2013 and beyond.
Americans care about U.S. foreign policy, terrorist attacks on our soil, and health care. But, what will still decide this election are competitive business tax rates, tax reform, a stronger economic outlook, and faith in a better job creation environment.
Voters are more in tune with confidence in an effective future economic vision and in competent leadership to develop and execute this vision.
President Obama may have thrilled the left with his aggressive style in this debate, but the undecided and more non-partisan Independent voters will more than likely break for Romney, if the decision is based on economic competence.
Obama needed to dominate the vision for the next four more years being better with him at the helm. He did not. As in the first debate, he did not present a compelling case for another four years that would look any different than the last four years.
While pressing Romney for workable solutions and specifics in his vision, it is not lost on many Obama does not effectively give any of his own in reality. He only seemed to once again champion the status quo on creating a more prosperous middle class.
The status quo is not acceptable. Obama’s economic policies have not worked well, if at all, for those outside of Washington, millions of everyday Americans, small business, and those without political connections and lobbyist.
Obama’s economic policies have not created growth which has even kept up with the population growth.
His signature legislation Obamacare looks to already be leading to large employers moving current full time employees to a part-time status to remain in business in 2013. Obamacare looks to also be leading some employers to decrease employees or not hire additional ones.
Middle class Americans understand the negative impact of taking money out of the economy, and specifically out of the hands of business owners wanting to create jobs competitively.
Romney did not necessarily win this debate, as he easily did the first debate, yet he did win the presentation of experience and competency on successful job creation over Obama. This will be on the mind of most voters when they cast their ballot for leadership in the White House.
President Obama was a better candidate in the second debate than in the first debate. He may have even won the second debate in the eyes of many. Romney presented himself as a viable alternative to Obama in both debates, even if seen as not a clear cut winner in the second round.
An instant reaction after the debate was noted by a CNN Poll which gave the debate win to Obama over Romney at 46% to 39%. Romney won easily with an 18% point lead in the minds of voters on who was “seen as better able to handle the economy, taxes, and the budget deficit…”
The CBS instant poll gave Obama the win – Obama 37%, Romney 30%, Tie 33%. Echoing the CNN Poll, the CBS poll reflected Romney was seen as more capable on the economy, “34 percent said the president would better handle the economy, with 65 percent saying Romney would.”
Frank Luntz, a popular pollster and focus group leader usually on Fox News, had a debate focus group soundly choosing Romney as the second debate winner. Many were clearly unhappy with the Obama presidential record of broken promises and failed economic policies.
Translated to the voting booth, style does not matter as much as the issues do in any debate, unless perhaps if there is a resounding debate knock-out blow. None of the three debates so far, two presidential and one vice presidential, had one.
The knock-blow that really matters comes every time a voter is laid-off or an already unemployed or underemployed voter is turned down for a job or searches in vain for one that does not seem to exist anymore.
The knock-out blow decision continues for all voters, whether they have jobs or not, every time they pay to fill up their car, buy groceries, see health care premiums deducted from their paycheck, and have to say “no” to things they used to be able to enjoy easily.
No amount of debate style or recycled promise will be able to bail Obama out of a failed administration as seen through the eyes of voters hurt by the last four year’s economy.
Americans still have hope for a change in moving forward toward a better economic vision. In 2012, voters may believe real hope and a change in forward movement looks more possible with a new President Romney than a status quo President Obama.