Obama vs. Romney: What the Pundits Are Saying About Second Debate
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President Obama and Mitt Romney faced off again Tuesday night in their second debate.
The event -- a town meeting format where attendees asked questions about healthcare, women's pay, abortion, immigration, Libya, gun control and other topics -- was moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley and held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. It also came less than two weeks after the first debate between the Democratic incumbent and the Republican hopeful, after which the pundits declared Romney the resounding winner.
But after Tuesday night's debate, that same group mostly declared Obama as the winner.
“He did today what failed to do at the first debate. He went on the offensive and came out swinging,” said CNN's Wolf Blitzer. “It was a much more contentious debate. There were times when both candidates really went after each other.”
However, Blitzer felt Romney missed a big opportunity to go after his opponent when Obama did not answer a question regarding diplomats in Libya requesting more security ahead of the deadly attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
Blitzer’s network colleague Gloria Borger took note of Romney's work on the economy, calling it his strong suit.
“Mitt Romney's best moments were focusing on the economic record and saying ‘the middle class has been buried’ and also ‘we don’t have to settle for this.’ Those were key catch phrases.” She also note Obama was “angriest on Libya,” when he called the politicizing of the attacks as “offensive."
CNN commentator and democratic activist Van Jones predicted that Romney lost ground with women during the debate. When asked about the wage gap between genders, Romney told a story about seeking women for cabinet positions as governor of Massachusetts and found them using a "binder full of women." One included a staffer whom needed to be home on time to prepare dinner for her children.
“The question is equal pay for equal work. The only thing he said was he heard it was a problem when he was 50 years old, and he wanted to make sure mothers got home on time for dinner,” Jones said.
While CNN's David Gergen conceded Obama was “most improved” from the previous debate, he still gave the edge to Romney.
“I think Mitt Romney has had two very good debates back to back….Overall he looks much more like he could be president han he did two weeks ago,” Gergen said. He added that Romney had the “better strategy" by focusing on jobs.
“He kept coming back to jobs. He was most effective when he talked about that was his priority”
Fox News Channel's Megyn Kelly noted that both candidates were more aggressive than the previous debate.
"They were much more in each other's spaces and faces," she said, adding: "The president saved his '47 percent' comments for his closing remarks, and Romney didn't have time to respond."
She also questioned his "calling Romney a 'good man' on the heels of his top advocates out literally calling Mitt Romney a liar to any reporter with a microphone."