O Answers Each Question Twice
For most every question asked on Tuesday night, President Obama had two answers: the one about him, and the one about Mitt Romney. From the outset of their spirited 90-minute debate, Obama replied to each query both by spelling out his own policies and attacking Romney's record or ideas.
After losing his first debate with Romney, Obama had no choice but to pull double-duty. He sought to undercut building support for his opponent among undecided voters, while allaying concerns about his own commitment within his own political base.
At the end, his staff and supporters felt relieved both on style and substance points, while Romney was quick off the stage and out of the debate hall. Romney's aides, though, felt in the long run that fact-checkers would declare their candidate the winner in the night's war of words.
Obama had a common theme -
After Romney was given a chance to rebut, Obama replied, bluntly: "What Governor Romney said just isn't true."
At points, the candidates spoke over each other and trailed one another across the floor, as they sought to have their opponent acknowledge their answer. One in particular drew gasps, when Romney cut off the president of the United States by saying, "You'll get your chance in a moment; I'm still speaking."
He was polite, but firm, after several Presidential interruptions and drew not gasps, but cheers, from my seat.
Nonetheless, Romney did not yield any quarter to Obama. "The president's statement of my policy is completely and totally wrong," he said as he defended his contraception views in an answer typical of several he gave during the night.
Romney also seized the challenger's prerogative, aiming to hold the incumbent accountable for the promises he issued during his first campaign. "The president has tried, but his policies haven't worked," the former Massachusetts governor said. "He's great as a speaker and describing his plans and his vision. That's wonderful, except we have a record to look at," added Romney. "And that record shows he just hasn't been able to cut the deficit, to put in place reforms for Medicare and Social Security to preserve them, to get us the rising incomes we need."
Romney also prospered as Obama avoided direct answers to two consecutive questions. One man asked simply and succinctly, Who was it that denied enhanced security for the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and why?
The president began, "Well, let me first of all talk about our diplomats..."
Two minutes, Champ.
He then incorrectly called them 'his' diplomats. He was right the first time...
After paying homage to the late Ambassador and three other Americans killed in a Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the facility, Obama turned away from the answer to another attack on Romney. "While we were still dealing with our diplomats being threatened, Governor Romney put out a press release, trying to make political points, and that's not how a commander in chief operates," said Obama.
When it was his turn to answer, Romney said: "It was a terrorist attack, and it took a long time for that to be told to the American people. Whether there was some misleading, or instead whether we just didn't know what happened, you have to ask yourself why didn't we know five days later, when the ambassador to the United Nations went on TV to say that this was a demonstration. How could we have not known?"
We knew. And the President knew. Ambassador Rice knew. Hillary knew. So how do you answer Romney's question?
Posted by: Bobby