Feisty second debate yielded confrontation, but no clear winner

The second presidential debate was less one-sided than the first, meaning President Obama was not as distracted, while Mitt Romney turned in a solid performance.The level of confrontation was far higher than anything previously seen between the two men. Obama was very stale. He didn't look good. Romney looked a lot better -- like a president. Obama looked like a salesman

It is clear the media will declare Obama the winner, for his performance was not as weak as previously, and because they are predisposed to do so, as Daren Jonescu laid out earlier tonight. I am far from certain that the president gained any support. Mitt Romney interacted well with the audience, and gave the lie to the hundreds of millions of dollars of Obama propaganda that has labeled him a monster.

Both men interrupted each other, to my eyes Obama more than Romney, and both entered each others' personal space. Obama enjoyed 2 -3 more minutes of speaking time that Romney did, as was true int he first debate.

Later fact checkers can clarify the dispute between the two men over Obama's contention that his Rose Garden address on 9/12 called the Benghazi attack a terror attack. But moderator Candy Crowley entered the dispute, essentially calling Obama correct, the clearest indication of her bias.

Romney laid out the failures of Obama clearly. Obama for the most part repeated previous talking points, and for anyone paying attention, his answers were stale.


Alana Goodman in Commentary fact checks Crowley:

Obama said during the speech that "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation" - but at no point was it clear that he was using that term to describe the attack in Benghazi. He'd also spent the previous two paragraphs discussing the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath. "Acts of terror" could have just as easily been a reference to that. Or maybe it wasn't a direct reference to anything, just a generic, reassuring line he'd added into a speech which did take place, after all, the day after the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Here's the line with some additional context:Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

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. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

Richard Baehr writes:

Questions were incredible: only 1 of 11 on foreign policy, and Crowley weighed in to save Obama on that one. Romney missed a chance to rebut. But assault weapons, Women's pay-Ledbetter act, contraception, Romney and Bush the same. Crowley is a total creature of the left

Even though Crowley's intervention saved Obama's bacon tonight, we have another debate coming, this time focused on foreign policy. The contradictory and fact-challenged answers on the Baneghazi coverup will continue to fester.

When Romney incredulously asked Obama if he was actually saying that he had called Benghazi a terror act, the president gave a nonconmittal answer, asking Romney to move along ("Please proceed"). He knew he could not say yes, but he wiggled out of saying no. Romney has one more chance to pin him down on Libya, and he must do a far better job of it in the final debate than he did tonight.

Elise Cooper writes:

No one is talking on how wrong the President was regarding the Arizona law.  First, no law enforcement officer stops anyone unless they have committed a violation.   The Supreme Court decision upheld that part of the law.

Obama's attempt to maintain the fiction that he called Benghazi an act of terror in the Rose Garden on 9/12 runs smack into reality.

TIMELINE: On September 13th Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, stated that, "The protests we're seeing around the region are in reaction to this movie." It was not until September 19th, over a week after the attack, that anyone from the administration acknowledged that the murders in Libya were the result of a terrorist strike. Yet, in President Obama's September 25th UN speech, he cited six times, "... the video that sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world."

The Obama Blame Game: First the movie, then the Governor, followed by House Republicans, and now the intelligence community.

Update: Paul Mirengoff of Powerline lays out an analysis that complements my own contention that Romney looked more presidential:

Who gains? It depends. If voters want to reelect Obama but need to be convinced that he can hold his own in a debate, then Obama will gain, just as George W. Bush did when he hung in there with John Kerry in the two encounters that followed Bush's poor first debate performance.

But if, as may well be true, voters do not really want to reelect Obama, but need to be satisfied that Romney isn't evil, isn't Bush, and has workable ideas for the economy, then my guess is that the challenger's performance tonight was another step on the road to "sealing the deal."