Obama back in play: polls give president 'narrow' debate win
Barack Obama rediscovers his passion while Mitt Romney makes 'binders full of women' gaffe
BARACK OBAMA regained the initiative in the race for the White House with a hard-fought victory over Mitt Romney in the second presidential debate on Tuesday night.
Instant polls showed a narrow win for the Democrat incumbent. CBS and CNN had Obama winning by a seven per cent margin but other surveys gave him an even clearer advantage.
However, he did not have it all his own way and a poll of independent voters in California scored it as a draw, noted the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight blog. Much now depends on the fallout from the match-up. "Debates sometimes look different in the rear-view mirror," the blog warned.
Most media commentators this morning are agreed that Obama shaded the rematch. "It was as if a different, highly charged president had taken the stage rather than the reluctant, disengaged-seeming candidate who showed up to meet Mr Romney at their first debate two weeks ago," said the New York Times.
Obama managed to strike the right balance, said Robert Wright of The Atlantic. "He had to be sharp and feisty and tough (to erase those particular doubts about his first performance), but he had to stop short of Joe Biden levels of aggressiveness and remain essentially likeable. I think he did that."
Some felt it was overly aggressive. The Washington Post called it a "scrappy, at times downright nasty town-hall debate that featured a feistier, more focused Obama". But while the incumbent might have come out on top, "the debate performance of both has been about as disappointing as their dodging on the campaign trail."
Gary Younge in The Guardian felt Obama demolished his opponent. "Clearer, sharper, more decisive and passionate, he challenged Mitt Romney on the facts and rhetorically he overwhelmed him. It was a rout every bit as conclusive as the first debate. Only this time the victor was Obama. Last time he barely showed up; tonight he showed Romney up."
Or did he? "This didn't change the dynamic of the debate," claimed Karl Rove of Fox News. "Both Obama and Romney had successes and both had shortcomings... It was not a good night for President Obama because even if he scored debating points, he lost the argument."
Politico wants to know why the President failed in the first debate. "If, 12 days ago at the University of Denver, Obama had delivered the same high-energy, on-target, putdown of Mitt Romney as he did at Hofstra University Tuesday night, think of where he would be today."
There could be a sting in the tail for Romney, who was widely ridiculed for inadvertently creating a new internet meme during the debate when he referred to "binders full of women" during an exchange about pay inequality.
The Republican candidate said he had once asked why there were so few women applying for high-powered business jobs and was subsequently presented with piles of resumes, or as he put it "binders full of women".
The phrase immediately began trending on Twitter, "and not in a good way for the former governor of Massachusetts," said The Atlantic Wire. Before the debate was even over, the meme had spawned its own Tumblr blog.