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Hempstead, NY: President Obama came out swinging, didn’t relent, and was met by an equally dogged challenger in Governor Romney. The winner of this second debate in New York was the President, but many would say so because it was miles above his performance in the first debate in Denver only a fortnight ago.
This time around, there was no more Mr. Nice Guy. There was no room for it; Romney was even more aggressive than he was previously. But the main difference is that the President seemed up to the challenge and handled every obstacle with passionate grace and aggression. He was firm, certain, and did not stumble en route to highlighting Romney’s flaws.
The second Presidential debate of 2012 at Hofstra University in Hempstead was held in a “town- hall” like setting, wherein 82 undecided voters waited to ask questions that would give the candidates a chance to win over those with similar concerns. Each candidate was given two minutes to offer their responses, although that was rarely abided by.
This particular round of what is shaping out to be a fierce race for the most powerful office on earth featured a much more noticeably aggressive President Obama and Mitt Romney who walked a fine line between required zest and downright rudeness.
The main differences between this and the first debate was that this one allowed near face-to- face confrontation and an exhibition of the President’s preparedness to offer counter punches and more to Romney.
There was hardly any stuttering or uncertainty evinced by Obama at the beginning of his responses—something that eclipsed his first debate showing. Moderator Candy Crowley, from CNN’s State of the Union program, handled the eager candidates with as much poise as she could muster but even she was constantly interrupted by Romney.
Romney grabbed every chance to take jabs at the President but defended himself adequately as well. However, it seemed as though the challenger became uneasy and testy anytime the President defended himself.
“I wasn’t done talking,” chided Romney during one confrontation when the two were invading each other’s space. “You’ll get your chance in just a second. That wasn’t a question, that was a statement.” Rude, when said to a sitting President, some will say.
Such a tone came to pass even in the first debate, yet not so “in-your-face”.
20-year old Jeremy Epstein was given a chance to ask the first question of the night, which focused on a reassurance of stability for both himself and his parents. The remnants of the previous debate seemed to pick up directly from the outset in the current.
“I want you to be able to get a job, I know what it takes to get this economy going,” said the challenger. “More debt, less jobs. I’m going to change that so you have the kind of opportunity you deserve. I’m going to create jobs. The middle class has been crushed the last four years. When you come out in 2014, I’m going make sure you get a job.”
President Obama responded with an allusion to the five million jobs he created in the private sector alone, saying he wants to build on that.
The direct references between the candidates began when the bailout of the auto industry was discussed. Romney alleged that the President allowed Chrysler and GM to go bankrupt and that the trend should not be allowed to continue. President Obama responded numerous times in denial—“not true, simply not true, Governor.”
The President’s views were much better arranged and presented this time around. Regarding energy, he said, “The Governor does not have a five-point-plan, it’s a one-point-plan. The last thing we need to do is to go back to the same policies that got us here (in the first place). The most important thing we can do is to make sure we can control our own energy. Natural gas production is the highest it has been in decades. We can’t just produce traditional energy. Governor Romney has the oil and gas part but not the clean energy part.”
While many are projecting the President’s comeback performance at the second debate to finally be a momentum changer in the race, there are others who believe this will do little to swing undecided voters his way because it was not the first impression.
The Vice-Presidential debate last week made headlines because it was an impressive display by the Democrats to attempt to aggressively wrestle momentum away from the Republicans after Romney clearly obliterated the President in the first debate. President Obama at Hofstra marked the second straight showing of orderly aggression by Democrats and a party that looks set to tackle any and all maneuvers orchestrated by Republicans who are on running on Obama’s record on economy in the past four years.
Obama, who had heard all of the critics and analysts rip him apart for his performance in the first debate, seemed up to the task of tackling a big-talker in Romney. There was a certain energy on the stage, the type of fire necessary for any candidate to be willing to engage in. Both men seemed to relish in their respective opportunities while undermining the other. As the Democrats rejoiced in the wake of a much more even-sided fight, Romney may not have been as giddy as he was seen on his plane after the first.
The third and final presidential debate is right around the corner and it promises to be just as tense and fiery as this one. The topic: foreign policy.