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Debate-ja vu: All Over Again

President Obama and Governor Romney square off in debate number two.
HEMPSTEAD, NY – OCTOBER 16: U.S. President Barack Obama laughs as he listens to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) during a town hall style debate at Hofstra University October 16, 2012 in Hempstead, New York. During the second of three presidential debates, the candidates fielded questions from audience members on a wide variety of issues. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

I’ll admit my title is a poor play on déja vu but this debate had few similarities to the first debate. This one was a town hall questions from the crowd and as usual the questions were pretty softball for the most part. Immigration, women’s wage rates, and the economy were the yawner questions. In fact the first question asked by one of the students in attendance was, What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?” My answer would have been, “Hey, Man UP. There are no guarantees in life. Use your education to create your own job. You live in the best place on earth with every opportunity.” Both Romney and Obama dodged the question by going to each of their standard talking points and campaign rhetoric on job creation and future, “in a perfect world I’ll do this.”

Moderator Candy Crowley from CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Crowley did her best to corral two passionate, forceful personalities — sometimes without success. Her biggest contribution was correcting Romney on Obama’s reference to a “terrorist attack” on our embassy in Benghazi. The exact quote from the president’s September 12, Rose Garden speech was, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” You be the judge if that was a reference to this specific attack.

The President was much more engaged in this debate than he was in the first debate. I think the “in your face” style used by both candidates was welcomed by men but not so much by women. Men tend to try to intimidate opponents as two fighters nose to nose before a boxing match. This over abundance of testosterone is lost on women voters.

Fact Checks

As with the first debate, fact checkers will be hard as work dissecting every assertion and accusation on each side. Oil leases and retirement accounts produced some close quarter sparing between the two. Lot’s of “What candidate x said is just not true,” was heard more than once.

For those of you that have drinking games, taking a drink every time a specific word or phrase is mentioned, probably didn’t have the word “gangbanger” on your list. But for the first time in history the term, “gangbanger” was used by a presidential candidate. In this case, the president said this, What I’ve also said is if we’re going to go after folks who are here illegally, we should do it smartly and go after folks who are criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they’re trying to figure out how to feed their families.”

Some Final Thoughts

Two debates down and one to go. I’m not sure tonight changed anyone’s mind. I didn’t hear anything I haven’t heard ad nauseam in radio and TV campaign ads. Both candidates came armed with their talking point facts and figures that have been hashed out throughout this election year.

Who won or who lost will be debated over the next week by all the network talking heads. As I reported earlier I’m not convinced that this debate knocked anyone off the fence. I’m just thankful that there are only three of them. If you haven’t made up your mind by now, I would respectfully ask you to stay home on Election Day.

If you missed the big showdown, Click Here for a link to a transcript of the 2nd Presidential Debate.

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