FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The Town Hall Tie That Wasn’t
So, here we are, fresh after debate number two. Twitter actually stopped me from tweeting. Apparently, I went too hardcore.
It is clear to me that this debate was a tie, if only because both sides are trumpeting the victory of their candidate. I did hear a lot about how rude Romney was, but these same people were silent during Biden’s relentless interruptions, and Biden was way worse about it. I’m listening to CNN on my TV in the background and have a conservative talk show host running on my computer. I am listening to every possible opinion and they’re all going different ways.
On the moderator, I heard people complaining from both sides before, during and after the debate. Candy Crowley did a phenomenal job, especially compared to the last two jokers. She was tough on both sides and forced answers and time limits. A lot of people are pissed at her, and therefore, I’m gonna support her, because it means both sides felt cheated, and if she did cheat anyone (I don’t think she did), then she cheated them fairly, given those responses.
On substance… well, you guys know I don’t judge debates on that. Debates are first and foremost presentation, and you cannot convince me otherwise. Romney was aggressive, sure, but that can be a plus or a minus for him. As far as the base goes, it’s a big help. As far as undecideds go, it’s rough to tell. The same goes for Obama. What I am going by here is the CNN undecided tracker. Consistently, the ones being tracked responded well on both sides to positive, forward-thinking responses and negatively to attacks and looks at the past. People, obviously, know what we’ve gotten the past four years. Clearly, judging from that tracker, they want to know what the future holds, and no matter who you support, the future is what matters.
Both candidates went on the offensive on each other’s words and deeds. I think the key was how they responded, and Romney was a bit stronger at not only fighting back, but drawing Obama out in the first place. He got Obama on the defensive early, and I think people took note of it. Romney had a lot fewer dips in CNN’s tracker when he lured that side of Obama out than Obama did.
Another point I’d like to make is how Romney drew out the 47% comment from Obama right there at the end. He said he supported all Americans, and Obama closes out with the 46% line… only for those undecided numbers to plummet. That’s not good. On the issues he’s harped on (the non-economic ones) Romney either held his own or the public has been turned off on them. The war on women? Romney’s contraception answer pleased undecided women. The 47%? A plunge for Obama. Tax cuts for the rich? Repeatedly blown back. Obama couldn’t navigate his way to a clear, decisive victory.
And there’s the rub. Everyone was ready to sing the praises of the comeback kid, that well-oiled political machine that did so well to defeat not only the Republicans in 2008 but also the Clinton political machine could not come away with a win. Did he stop Romney’s momentum? Maybe, but… not enough. Obama needed a win that everyone could recognize. Instead, they left the debate with the Libya situation in full-fester in the six days left before the final debate – the foreign policy debate.
As usual, I’m more than happy to hear your thoughts on the subject, publicly or privately.
See this post and others of mine here. Follow me on Twitter: @joec_esquire