Hempstead, N.Y. The second 2012 presidential debate featured a sharper Barack Obama, a series of tough exchanges, and one memorable back-and-forth on Libya. And just as Joe Biden’s answers on Libya in the vice presidential debate drove several days of news, the discussion of Libya Tuesday night will be central to the presidential contest over the next week.
Too bad for President Obama that he saved his aggressive performance for his second debate with Mitt Romney. If he had done as well in the first debate, the presidential race might look different today.
On October 2, the day before the first debate, Mitt Romney trailed Barack Obama in the Real Clear Politics poll average by 3.3 percentage points. Today, just before the second debate, Romney led by 0.4 points—almost a 4-point swing in two weeks. What now?
A strong moment from Mitt Romney in tonight's debate when he went over President Obama's unkept promises and concluded, "The president has tried, but his policies haven't worked." Romney also said, "This is a president who has not been able to do what he said he'd do."
In 2008, Barack Obama promised to cut federal spending, cut wasteful programs, reform Medicare and Social Security, and create "5 million new jobs" in a "new energy economy." At Buzzfeed, Andrew Kaczynski has four videos of Obama making those promises at the town hall debate in 2008. Here, for instance, is Obama talking about the need to reform entitlements in his first term:
As Mike Warren highlights, moderator Martha Raddatz apparently didn’t think Obamacare was important enough to make the cut as one of the nine topics she brought up during the vice presidential debate. Two other closely related topics that didn’t make her cut were federal spending and the national debt. Anyone who had been asleep for four years before waking up and tuning in would never have guessed that Obamacare, rampant federal spending, and unsustainable federal debt had given rise to the Tea Party and had propelled the GOP to gains of 63 House seats and 6 Senate seats in the 2010 elections.