President Obama is widely regarded as having ‘redeemed himself’ in the second presidential debate that took place in Long Island, New York, last night, writes Caroline Mortimer
The town hall style debate between incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, focused on the economy, tax and foreign policy.
A more informal affair, the audience was made up of 80 undecided voters who were allowed to ask their own pre-approved questions and the candidates were allowed to interrupt, circle and heckle each other with CNN’s Candy Crowley moderating.
Having been widely regarded as losing the first debate, Obama came back fighting in the second round, attacking Romney’s “one point plan” to make sure “folks at the top play by a different set of rules”.
On the other hand, Romney blamed Obama for the 20 million people who are currently unemployed and the increase to the federal deficit. He claimed that under his plan he could create 12 million new jobs.
Reliable figures for who won the debate will not appear for days, but a snap poll by CNN suggests Obama was deemed the winner by 46% to Romney’s 39%. Another poll by CBS put it at 37% to Obama versus only 30% to Romney.
As well as the economy, the candidates also discussed their energy policies, women’s issues and their tax plans.
Obama insisted he had cut tax by $3,600 for middle income families but Romney said they could not afford four more years of Obama’s spending plans as they “are on the road to Greece”.
Commenting on the debate former White House spokesman and Obama 2012 adviser, Robert Gibbs, said:
“The president knew he did not do well two weeks ago. He knew he had to step up his game tonight and Mitt Romney was left looking uncomfortable.”
However, Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie countered:
“The momentum continues for Governor Romney… I don’t think it changes the dynamic. This was never about style. It is about substance - jobs - and that has not changed.”
While BBC North America’s editor, Mark Mardell, wrote:
“The absent warrior has returned. President Obama redeemed himself.”
Mardell said that, while there was no clear winner of the second debate, Obama had “raised his game” and Romney had put in a “solid performance” that was “perhaps not as good as last time”, concluding the debate had:
“…stopped the rot, [and] will halt any panic. But the race is likely to remain unpredictably tight.”
The third Obama/Romney debate, on foreign policy, takes place Monday at 2100hrs EST, at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.