Who Won the Second Presidential Debate?
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both turned in forceful performances, but who won the second presidential debate? You tell us.
The turnaround was remarkable—following a first sedate presidential debate marked by long answers, the second debate turned into a rapid fire grudge match between President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney.
Perhaps Diane Sawyer put it best: “It was a rocket ride fueled by adrenaline.” Or maybe it was George Will: "Both men tonight tiptoed right up the point of rudeness, but stepped back."
The town hall format gave the candidates opportunity to confront each other, not just verbally, but physically. And Obama and Romney embraced that, often moving toward each other as they verbally sparred over the other’s record. Both were feisty, refusing to concede any points to the other and often talking over each other—and moderator Candy Crowley of CNN.
Romney and Obama asked each other questions directly, frequently accused the other of distorting the facts and verbally tussled over the math behind tax plans and job creation strategies. They also took some direct digs on the other’s fitness for president.
“If you elect President Obama, you know what you’re gonna get. You’re gonna get a repeat of the last four years. We just can’t afford four more years like the last four years.”
“We don’t have to settle for what we’re going through… If I become president, I’ll get us working again.”
“When he talks about getting tough on China, keep in mind that Gov. Romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing to China... Governor, you’re the last person to get tough on China.”
“That’s not how a commander in chief operates. You don’t turn national security into a political issue, certainly not right when it’s happening.” (on Romney’s response to the attack against the American consulate in Libya.)
The pointed quotes were a departure from the first debate, which saw pundits praise Romney’s fiery performance and criticize the president’s lackluster demeanor. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos opined that Obama and Romney “decided they were going to rouse partisans tonight, rouse their supporters and not worry so much about uncommitted voters.”
Questions, which came from audience members at Hofstra University in New York as well as Crowley, ranged from equal pay for women to assault weapons bans to higher education costs, in addition to the expected topics of national security, the economy and job creation.
Yes, Big Bird did come up, but just once in passing. Tonight’s catchphrase, at least according to the Twitterverse, seemed to be “binders full of women,” aka what Romney received to staff his cabinet with qualified women.
Here's the full transcript of the second presidential debate, provided by ABC News.
You tell us—who won the presidential debate? No matter whom you’re voting for, who turned in the better performance?