Washington: Giving up
his cool 'Mr. Polite' demeanour, a decidedly more aggressive
President Barack Obama got the better of Mitt Romney in their
second encounter, but few were willing to say if it would
significantly alter the White House race.
Most media commentators judged Obama the winner of Tuesday night's
tense, lively debate at Hofstra University in Long Island, New
York, with his Republican challenger, whose campaign has been on a
roll since their first encounter in Denver two weeks ago.
Print as well as national and local TV reports positively assessed Obama's "aggressive" or "feisty" debate stance with the New York
Times saying it "was a chance for a redo for Mr. Obama".
The Washington Post similarly described Obama as "far more engaged
and prepared" for this debate, while Romney "was less able to
unsettle the president".
The Los Angeles Times took note of a "a newly energetic and
aggressive ... Obama" who "went directly after his Republican
Even the generally pro-Republican Fox News conceded: "Obviously we
saw a more aggressive, a more assertive President Obama tonight.
He was much more on his game."
Polls taken after the debate largely validate the view that Obama
won the bout, with the president ahead in a CBS survey of
uncommitted voters (37 percent-30 percent) and a CNN poll of
registered voters (46 percent-39 percent).
If the analysts were universally agreed on the president's much
improved style, few were willing to predict if it would
significantly alter the dynamics of the White House race which is
a dead heat, according to the latest opinion polls, all taken
before last night's debate.
A National Poll Average by Real Clear Politics, an influential
political news aggregator, shows Romney just 0.4 percentage points
ahead with 47.4 percent to Obama's 47 percent.
But Obama still enjoys a 201 to 191 vote advantage over Romney
with 146 votes too close to call in the 538 strong Electoral
College. It takes 270 votes to win the White House.
Writing in the Washington Post, commentator Chris Cillizza said
"both sides will be pleased with how their candidate did". But
ultimately, "it's hard to imagine the debate changing any minds".
During the town hall format debate, where 82 uncommitted voters
picked by Gallup organisation got to ask the questions, Obama
mocked Romney's five-point economic plan saying: "Governor Romney
says he's got a five-point plan. Governor Romney doesn't have a
"He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks
at the top play by a different set of rules," he said. "That's
been his philosophy in the private sector. That's been his
philosophy as a governor. And that's been his philosophy as a
Romney shot back that Obama was "great as a speaker, but his
policies don't work".
"That's what this election is all about," Romney said. "It's about
how we can get the middle class of this country a bright and
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)