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Published On: Wed, Oct 17th, 2012

Obama comes out swinging in second debate, tensions get high

The Long Island townhall debate Tuesday night proved that President Obama wasn’t dead in the water or apathetic. Standing feet apart challenged each other pointedly over everything from the economy to Libya.

The GOP contender targeted the Obama administration on Libya, the confused reports from the White House and now, the State Department.

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“The suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, governor, is offensive,” Obama said. “That’s not what we do. That’s not what I do as president, that’s not what I do as commander in chief.”

“The president, the day after that happened, flies to Las Vegas for a political fundraiser,” Romney said. “These actions taken by a president and a leader have symbolic significance.”

“I think it’s interesting the president said something, which is on the day after the attack he went in the Rose Garden and said this was an act of terror,” Romney said, then turning to the president. “You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror? It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you are saying?”

“I want to make sure we get that for the record,” Romney continued, his eyes widening. “It took the president 14 days before he called it an act of terror.”

To this, Obama responded, “Get the transcript,” but moderator Candy Crowley was quick to fact-check Romney. “He did, in fact, call it an act of terror,” she told Romney, to which the president quipped, “Could you say that a little louder, Candy? Terror.”

When it turned to the economy, the President went directly after Romney’s five-point plan.

“Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules,” claimed Obama.

And the president attacked Romney’s proposals to reform taxes and lower the deficit.

“Governor Romney was a very successful investor. If somebody came to you, governor, with a plan that said, ‘Here, I want to spend $7 or $8 trillion, and then we’re going to pay for it, but we can’t tell you until maybe after the election how we’re going to do it,’ you wouldn’t take such a sketchy deal and neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn’t add up.”

“We haven’t heard from the governor any specifics beyond Big Bird and eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood in terms of how he pays for that,” Obama said. The president said that as an investor, Romney “wouldn’t have taken such a sketchy deal, and neither should you, the American people.”

While “zingers” made it into the pre-debate conversations, it was the President who used them loosely and often.

Then there was this zinger on outsourcing: “Governor, you’re the last person who’s going to get tough on China.”

While Obama said Romney’s policies are “squeezing middle-class families,” the Republican nominee claimed the president’s policies do the same.

“The president’s policies have been exercised over the last four years, and they haven’t put Americans back to work,” Romney said.

The two candidates frequently interrupted each other, in what quickly turned out to be a feistier face-off than the first round.

“You’ll get your chance in a moment. I’m still speaking,” Romney said at one point to Obama.

“Candy, hold on a second,” Obama said later on in the debate to moderator Candy Crowley, before Romney plowed over him to tackle Obama’s criticism of his foreign investments.

“Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?” Romney said.

“I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours,” Obama quipped.

So, what do the analysts say.

“If you were scoring it on points, Obama wins on points,” arch-conservative Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News.

“Romney is fumbling through a question on Libya that he should be owning,” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough tweeted, contributing to that brief collapse. “Considering how badly the Obama administration handled Benghazi, I’m surprised by Romney’s jumbled response to the Libya question.”

The National Journal’s Ron Fournier does a good job of capturing the eternal contradiction of turning to news junkies for debate assessment. “Obama and Romney scored points while turning off independent voters with their point-scoring,” he writes. “Democratic and Republican partisans will find reason to celebrate the debate but it likely did nothing to reshape the closely fought race.” The whole thing was “fantastic theater,” agrees the Los Angeles Times’ Jon Healey, “but not decisive politics.”

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza writes that “Obama seemed to be on the wrong side of the angry/passionate divide in the first 15 minutes” but then managed to moderate his tone “to the sober/serious yet forceful persona that he needed.” Obama seemed to be a different person from Denver while Romney somehow “failed to match the dominance of his first debate, seeming peevish at Obama’s interruptions and appealing to debate moderator Candy Crowley for equal time,” writes Time’s Alex Altman.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. CBS releases ’60 Minutes’ President Obama Sept 12th interview segment on Benghazi - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Obama dodges saying the attack was terrorism during the interview, contradicting the statements made during the debate with Mitt Romney on comments made in the Rose Ga…the morning of the […]

  2. President Obama and Romney spar in the final debate, leaving voters confused over their differences - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] The showdown at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, took place amid a tightening presidential race. Romney’s performance in the candidates’ first meeting on October 3 in Denver gave him a boost in national polls, a momentum that appeared to be continuing well past the second debate which Obama likely won. […]

  3. Brandon Jones says:

    those are some great comments, thanks

  4. Viv says:

    I had to get up and leave…I couldn’t stomach it…they should allow a non-political person moderate these things…ugh…hate that our country is being tore apart by this…

  5. Michele says:

    Ditto Karen and as far as anything else I’m going to go with If you don’t having anything nice to say don’t say anything at all and leave it at that because quite honestly aside from” he dresses well and loves his wife”..I can’t thnk of much else

  6. Karen says:

    I agree with Michele, and that’s after 2 debates. What is it that makes him so unstomachable? I know for me it’s his arrogance and self praise. What is IT for you?

  7. Michele says:

    One debate is enough for me..still can’t stomach him

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