The result was a decisive debate victory for the President at Hofstra University in New York, a victory gained in part by Romney's stumbles and by Obama making his points forcefully and being precise with his arguments. Going into the second of three debates his slipping in the polls was already stemmed, with numbers reversing back to his favor, but this may move him ahead more than the 3 points he was already up nationally in a daily Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll
Mitt Romney: "Binders full of women"
There were a number of Romney missteps
, some more serious than others. The former governor of Massachusetts said truly foolish things about women in the workforce, proudly, and patronizingly, claiming that as governor he told staff that, doggone it, they were just gonna have to go out and find some qualified women - wasn't he governor in 2007, not 1957? - because, you see, women just weren't applying for the positions they had open.
The story rang rather hollow and he stuck his foot in his mouth with these remarks: "And...and so we...we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women's groups and said: "Can you help us find folks," and they brought us whole binders full of women." The cloying phrase "binders full of women" has gone viral
and, like his remarks about 47 percent of the U.S. being self-proclaimed "victims", he's being derided for it. The remark showed women have more issues with Romney that just his desire to take away their right to choose
Romney also criticized Obama for not calling the attack in Libya a terror attack. Moderator Candy Crowley corrected him, informing him that the morning following the attacks the President had indeed called the attack a terror attack. Romney looked confused and arguably never regained his footing. Further, his resorting throughout the evening to rude interruptions of both Obama and Crowley, and to leaping to his feet whenever something was said he didn't like, made him look disrespectful and petulant, not fair-minded and strong.
Sharp Barack Obama details plans
But the greater indicator of why Barack Obama won the debate - and poll
is showing the American people say he did - was his performance. As the Los Angeles Times said
, this time he took "command" of the debate. When Romney went over the clock, Obama walked up to Romney and asked Crowley to keep him to time. The GOP candidate looked flummoxed, as if it hadn't occurred to him he'd be made to play by the rules.
Along the way to his win Obama defended his record and spoke of a future, remarks that worked better given the numbers from September show unemployment finally fell
below that important 8 percent mark, down to 7.8 percent, and show the U.S. economy has added jobs 31 straight months, an even greater accomplishment given the final months of the prior Republican administration's term saw American lose jobs at a rate of some 800,000 per month.
U.S. Presidential Race: all the way to Nov. 6
This is not a race that will end until the final voting booth closes November 6. But with a masterful performance, President Obama showed he knew what he did wrong in debate one and made the necessary corrections, and that he has policy and passion to create a more prosperous America in a second term. It also showed Romney less capable in an intimate setting and still mistake-prone as well as unable to back up promises with plans.
The next debate, Monday the 22nd in Florida, is a foreign policy debate
, an acknowledged strong suit for Obama. Look here for Romney to hit jingoistic talking points and come across as a tough guy. Look for Obama to cite his record in foreign policy and the manner in which he's improved the image of his country after George W. Bush very nearly destroyed it. In other words, look for another Obama win.