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Tuesday Night Fights: GOP Up-and-comer v. White House Resident

(The Verge) — Last night we had the second presidential debate at Hofstra University. I was searching for some sort of clever intro to describe the debate, but I still cannot pick up my jaw off the floor. Boy was the fire brought! Basically, we had each candidate make strides towards resolving their issues through an 18th century gun duel. The gloves were off in this town hall debate and each party candidate came ready to dish out the punches. And not only were the gloves, removed, but the affair became an all-out street brawl. CNN’s Candy Crawley had the pleasure of moderating the debate, and like Jim Lehrer, was interrupted quite often, but I’d be hard-pressed to believe even she didn’t see the gun slinging!
Thankfully for the left, the President actually came prepared (yes, he was asleep during the first debate) and he was alert and conscientious throughout the 90 (which turned into 100) minutes. In a general sense, the President finally resorted to calling out Governor Romney on his vagueness in economic plans, his traits of being a flip-flopper and his lack of abilities to be commander-in-chief. He stood his ground against the Governor’s claims and was clearly not afraid to refute what Romney was saying, even when that meant butting in on Crawley’s attempted mediation.

Finger-pointing was hardly the only thing done by each candidate that stirred emotion in the Hofstra Town Hall debate. Image taken from: i.i.com.com

Some points of contention that stick out for me regarding the President, were his drastic changes between debates, as he went from lifeless to gut-buster in just two weeks. They say the incumbent is sometimes prone to losing the first debate, as they’ve been out of the debate loop, which is exactly what happened this year, but boy did he leave no room for error in Long Island!
He attacked Romney’s Five Point Plan, claiming it had just one misguided element and he told Americans that all Mitt Romney can mention are his distastes for Big Bird and Planned Parenthood. He even called out the Governor’s approach to tax reform, saying it will clearly benefit the wealthy while the Middle Class continues to suffer, paying higher tax percentages than some millionaires.
While talking about foreign policy, the President took offense to much of what Romney claimed. He said the administration has and will continue to do everything in its power to secure its embassies and find those responsible for terrorist attacks and maintain a presence in Iran monitoring and Israeli relationship-patching, so to speak. From a communications perspective, I’d say the President nailed it!
But this is not to say that the Republican challenger did not have some highlights of his own in the debate! The Governor successfully confronted Obama on a variety of issues, stemming from job creation, the deficit, taxes, business stances, immigration and foreign policy. What sticks out most were Romney’s aggressive overtones and criticisms of the Obama handling of the Benghazi attack, saying that the administration took way too long to admit it was purely a terrorist attack. Also, Romney attacked President Obama’s domestic energy stances, finding it abhorrent that he would not accept a pipeline from Canada and increase offshore drilling in Virgina and Alaska. Noting that gasoline prices and energy concerns remain emotional issues for many, the Governor successfully stirred up some emotion here, showing independent voters (like those in swing states, cough, cough) that he is the man who can revitalize the economy which in essence would improve gas prices and energy investments.
The Governor also made positive strides in proving his record, emphasizing his experience and relating his “Washington Outsider” experience to the needs of the country. He also brought up his faith, which is quite rare, and did a surprisingly well job justifying his faith and its influence on life and culture. And heck…telling the sitting president to sit down because it wasn’t his turn to speak is also a pretty bold move to make as well…showing me he has the boldness and charisma to hold his own in high stakes situations.
But he also staggered at a few points in the debate, especially after President Obama disproved his claim that the President erred regarding his Rose Garden Libya Address from September 12th. This is where the wheels started falling off the cart (briefly) for Romney, as he appeared flustered and a bit awkward, though he maintained his train of thought and ultimately a solid electoral argument; about the administration’s lack of cohesiveness regarding the Benghazi issue and how they failed to warn the American people why the attack had happened.
As far as one-liners and memorable moments go from the debate, I’d say there’s a few things that stick in-mind. One, was in Romney’s closing remarks. Though it has been
Though some might say that the second debate was hardly a town hall format, it is clear that each side seemed quite polarized. Image taken from: c1redgreenandblue.org.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com

a staple of the his campaign, he again said, “You do not have to settle,” for four more years of this. The remark came just seconds after explaining his religious history and how he cares for every American, regardless of social status and what the Obama camp has said. This claim was well conceived at the end, as it reminded voters that the status quo doesn’t always have to win the day. I feel like he did a solid job at repairing his image when he was given this common misconception question. And the most memorable moment for me, (as I believe many analysts may also hint to) was Romney bringing up Obama’s pension and foreign investments. Evidently the remark did nothing to improve the mood, as Obama’s “um’s” and stutter kicked in and Romney seemed flustered and uncomfortable. Things got so hostile that you could barely hear Crowley’s voice, and Obama ended up saying, “My pension’s not as big as yours…”
Maybe this is far fetched, but my take on the issue goes a little deeper than what most people may think. It sticks with me because it seems like another Democratic ploy to the “You Didn’t Build That” mentality. I predict the Romney camp may be able to use this to their advantage in some way, as he could continue to argue for the free market as others keep saying Obama approves the notion that ‘government creates jobs.’
Either way, this confrontation drew up a scene to what looked like a replay of the Gore-Bush chest bump scare, but luckily (or not so luckily depending on what you want out of these debates), this didn’t happen.
All in all I think the debate was fascinating, and at the end of this article my jaw is finally starting to come up off the floor. Each candidate anticipated the hostility, and brought it to the discussion. And to be fair…I’d say President Obama won the second debate, but by a narrow margin. He had Romney on the defensive all night and called out policy after policy. His homework paid off; we’ll have to see if the polls will change now too!