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Before the second presidential debate, tongue in cheek, I wrote a short blog post titled “President Obama comes out swinging!” What were the first words by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer after the debate? “President Obama comes out swinging!” The relief by the mainstream media was palpable.
It would be funny if the media were less predictable, and less obviously biased, in these situations. However, they’re not, and the Republican inevitably finds himself debating both his opponent and the debate moderator. That happened again last night.
President Barack Obama got about two extra minutes to make his points last night, and Candy Crowley gave the president the last word after nearly every exchange.
Does this matter? How it matters practically, is that it enrages the base on the right. They feel abused by both the media and the Democrats. The debate moderators showing a clear preference for the Democrat makes Democratic viewers feel good. But I’m not sure it’s helpful, ultimately, to their cause.
And what matters more than bias is the answers themselves. Each candidate experienced a palpable “losing” moment during this debate.
The first came when an African American man in the audience expressed his disappointment in President Obama and sounded genuinely exhausted by trying to pay for basic things in his life. The president’s answer fell short and Mitt Romney exploited the moment to list the ways Obama failed to deliver on many of his boldly laid out promises.
The difficult time for Governor Romney came when Libya, of all topics, came up. President Obama obfuscated and Candy Crowley chimed in to defend the president. While post-debate spin may clear up misconceptions, Mitt Romney looked thrown.
However, Ms. Crowley’s “help” may have hurt President Obama. Already, she’s correcting herself correcting Romney saying, “He was right in the main.”
For all the Benghazi talk, though, the economic portions of the debate got more play on social media by a 2:1 margin than the foreign policy questions. So, while the left may enjoy the Benghazi moment, it seems Americans are far more concerned about jobs and the economy.
It’s still, after all these years, “the economy, stupid.”
Will this debate move independents back to President Obama? I have no idea. I’m guessing that people are more set at this point than they are letting on to pollsters. I could be wrong. Certainly, this is a close race, but I don’t think this debate decided anything definitively.
The left will believe that President Obama’s lack of a clear loss was a win. It’s notable how low the bar has become for President Obama. President Obama’s supporters feared a repeat of the first debate. They can exhale after this performance.
Think about this notion: four years ago, President Obama enjoyed God-like status. He looks very much a man these days. He looks like a man who blew his opportunities. And yet, he at least looked like a man who was fighting for his job.
Will voters give him another chance?
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