Tonight’s 2nd Presidential Debate of 2012 — a Town Hall showdown at Hofstra University moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley — was a spirited and combative showdown. Here’s what you should know.
1. Obama Showed Up This Time
Unlike his anemic performance in the first presidential debate, the POTUS came out swinging. He was animated and immediately went after Romney, saying “Governor Romney doesn’t have a 5-point plan, he has a one-point plan” — to aid the upper class. Obama dominated the time battle, speaking for a full three more minutes than Romney, in contrast to the first debate when it was the opposite.
2. Mitt Was Pushy
The governor frequently talked over not only his opponent, but over moderator Candy Crowley. The crowd gasped when he told Obama “You’ll get your chance,” and he flat-out said “No” to Crowley at one point as she attempted to lead him back on track.
3. “Binders Full of Women” is the New Meme
Romney, while describing his efforts to recruit women into his administration in Massachusetts, said he solicited suggestions for good candidates and had “binders of women.” Twitter blew up over the awkward visual, with one person saying it wasn’t far removed from “It puts the lotion in the basket.” Immediately there was a Tumblr and Facebook page. It stemmed from a question about why women still make 72 percent of what men do.
4. Obama and Mitt Clashed Hard on Energy
A question about gas prices prompted a knock-down-drag-out battle over energy policy. Obama said domestic energy production is up, while Romney said Obama reduced energy production from federal lands. They both have factual footing, depending on how you spin the facts. Romney said the real proof of Obama’s energy-policy success is gas prices at $4, more than double what they were four years prior. Obama said gas prices were low when he took office because the economy was on the verge of collapse.
5. Romney Is “Not George Bush”
The five hundred pound white elephant in the Romney campaign was brought up when a questioner asked Gov. Romney what separated him from George W. Bush. The Bush administration is rarely mentioned by anyone associated by the former Massachusetts governor. Romney described Bush’s presidency has having happened in a “different time.” That during the younger Bush’s time, America’s energy was not self-sufficient. That the U.S. at the time was not interested in dealing with Latin America, something that Romney would change through extended free trade agreements.
6. Obama’s Odds Got a Bounce
Obama received a bounce from oddsmakers after the debate. Intrade.com, a market prediction website, had Obama’s odds up nearly 2 percent and Romney’s Odds down about the same.
7. It Didn’t Break the Debate Tweet Record
The first debate in Denver spawned 10.3 million Tweets, whereas tonight’s total count was 7.2 million, according to Twitter. The peak of the Tweeting tonight was during the discussion on immigration when the volume reached 109,000 tweets per minute.
8. The Moderator Sided with Obama over Benghazi
Though Crowley later admitted her error:
Regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, Romney accused the president of taking 14 days to call the attack in Benghazi an act of terror. The moderator, Candy Crowley, butted in and refuted Romney, saying Obama addressed the matter the following day. Here is the quote from Obama’s Rose Garden address at the time: “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” Shortly after the debate, the Romney campaign issued a press release detailing the President’s dialogue on the attack.
9. Obama Took a Shot at Romney’s Wealth
After Obama brought up Romney’s investments in China, Romney butted in and responded: “Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?” — aiming to point out that Obama, too, had such investments. “You know, I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours,” Obama cracked.
10. Obama Finally Brought Up the 47 Percent
Unlike in the first debate when he chose not to touch on Romney’s biggest gaffe of the election, Obama — unprompted — used his closing arguments to bring up the famed 47 Percent secret recording. The President seem to heed the advice of the entire country in bringing up the recording, Obama, attempted to his remarks in context by describing the kinds of people that were included in Romney’s 47% generalization.