TNI Bureau: U.S. President Barack Obama outperformed his Republican opponent Mitt Romney on Tuesday evening at their second Presidential debate, pulling almost even their support just three weeks before the November election.
The more lively performances from both candidates all but ensured that the debate was full of confrontations and sparks, as candidates trade barbs and at times, physically circled and pressed each other on different issues, when answering questions from undecided voters.
As most of the time in the campaign trail, economic issues including jobs, oil prices and taxes dominated the debate, other topics ranging from foreign policy to women’s rights etc are also covered.
Romney made a visible gaffe during a confrontation with Obama. He insisted Obama didn’t call the attack on U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens an act of terror the second day, which he did.
Besides that blunder, Romney also appeared, at times, rude and arrogant towards the president, interrupting him and at one time prevented Obama from interjecting, saying “you’ll get your chance in a moment,” drawing gasps from the audience.
Barack Obama admitted that he is “ultimately responsible” for what happened in the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya last month.
Besides the heated exchanges, both Obama and Romney seemed genuinely engaged with the audience, and made visible efforts to connect with them during the debate, looking voters in the eyes when answering their questions, and leaning in when listening.
According to an instant poll by CNN and ORC International, 46 percent of debate watchers said Obama won the debate, while 39 percent said Romney did.
As a customary, after each debate, both campaigns rushed to the media center afterwards to declare themselves the winner.
Sen. John Kerry, who helped Obama prepare for the debate, said the president “has done a terrific job,” and the night marked the start of the “unraveling” of Romney’s campaign.
Ed Giellespie, a senior adviser to Romney, said “the president can change the plan, change the tactics, but he can’t change four years of failed economic policy.”
The Obama campaign is trying to stop Romney’s surge, but how much headway the president has made in the direction with his commanding performance on Tuesday remains unclear.
However, stakes are high for both candidates as Obama tried hard to put his re-election bid back on track after a subdued performance in the first debate and Romney strived to keep the Republican momentum rolling.