Both candidates came out swinging in Tuesday night's second
presidential debate. A noted historian and political science
professor says President Barack Obama improved his game this time
around - but that Governor Mitt Romney held his own.
The debate took the form of a town hall meeting at Hofstra
University in Hempstead, New York, where the candidates squared off
in the opening moments on gas prices, the economy, and taxes.
Prompted by moderator Candy Crowley of CNN, citizens -
self-identified as "uncommitted voters" - asked questions of the
candidates on foreign and domestic issues in the give-and-take that
found both the Democratic incumbent and GOP nominee fighting for
momentum going into the home stretch of the race for the White
Associated Press says a "re-energized" Obama showed up
last night in a follow-up to his "limp performance" in Debate #1 on
October 3. But Romney, says AP, "didn't give an inch" in
the "pushy, interruption-filled encounter." (Related
article - Debate
fallout: The mammogram lie)
Dr. Paul A. Rahe, professor of history at Hillsdale College in
Michigan, explains why, in his estimation, Romney came out on
"It seems to me that when you have a draw between a president of
the United States and a challenger, the challenger wins; and when
you have a president of the United States whose policies have
obviously failed, that he's trying to sell you a bill of goods for
the future, he's at a real disadvantage in the debate," he
"So I think Romney did well enough that he will build upon what
he achieved in the first debate when he throttled Obama."
Dr. Charles Dunn of Regent University concurs with Rahe
regarding who was the "victor" in the debate.
"President Obama had an edginess about him throughout - the tone
of his voice overshadowed some of what he said," Dunn observes.
"Governor Romney had little or no edginess in his voice; he was
very straightforward and commanding in his voice. So I give this
debate to Governor Romney, but also credit President Obama with
doing a far better job than he did in the first debate."
Dunn, like Rahe, believes Romney's "challenger"
status will benefit him coming out of Debate #2.
"The relatively low percentage of Americans who've not made up
their minds - these so-called 'undecided' - usually break for the
challenger," he remarks. "So did Governor Romney do anything that
would damage his momentum? No, he did not. Did President Obama stop
the bleeding of his campaign? Yes, he probably stopped the bleeding
somewhat. But still the edge in the campaign, the momentum, has to
go with Romney."
Rahe observes Romney missed several opportunities to confront
Obama on Libya, claiming he got flustered when Crowley sided with
the president, who claimed he referred to the murders in Benghazi
as "acts of terror" during a speech in the Rose Garden at the White
House the day after the attacks.
"You know, if you leave aside the Libya business where Candy
Crowley sided with Obama and told an untruth - it's as simple as
that about what went on in the Rose Garden that day," says the
political historian. "What Obama said was that it was an act of
senseless violence, not that it was a terrorist act. Now, an act of
senseless violence is consistent with the line that they were
peddling - that this was just a demonstration and a reaction to the
The third and final presidential debate is on Monday (October
22) at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Two weeks from the
following day, voters across America head to the polls.
Obama likes free enterprise?
Conservative activist and former presidential candidate Gary
Bauer says he found it shocking that the president tried to take
the conservative position in Tuesday night's debate on issues like
drilling for gas and oil, the right to bear arms, and free
The president of the Campaign for Working Families Political Action
Committee says the American people can see through Obama's
"To suddenly hear a guy who in college who studied
socialism [and] wrote papers on socialism suddenly saying I
believe in free enterprise and the free markets -- I just
don't think it passes the straight face test," he tells
"And not only that, it may actually outrage some of his voters
on the left who hate free enterprise and free markets, who hate the
right to bear arms, [and] who hate the energy industry."
Bauer does not think Obama did himself any favors by trying to
talk like a conservative.