The second Obama-Romney 2012 presidential debate took place at Hofstra University in suburban New York on October 16th 2012. It was a townhall debate where undecided voters asked the questions. CNN reporter Candy Crowley moderated. George Will called it the best presidential debate in over 50 years.
The set-up favoured President Obama: not only does he have more experience at townhall debates, it took place in a very blue state. So questions were about blue-state issues.
Obama had to do very well after his poor performance at the first debate, which cost him millions of likely votes. Obama is a good speaker but not a great debater. This time, though, he repurposed his stump speech and was able to keep Romney on defence most of the time. It was a dream come true for Democrats: Obama did all the things they wanted him to do the last time, like calling out Romney on his lies and his secret statement about 47% of Americans not taking “personal responsibility”.
When Romney was asked about equal pay for women, he sidestepped the question and instead talked about having “binders full of women” when filling positions as governor (affirmative action, notice). The phrase quickly became the laughingstock of the Internet.
Romney’s biggest mistake was on Libya. Last month an American ambassador was murdered by terrorists in Benghazi, Libya. When Obama was asked why his administration refused requests for greater security beforehand, he completely sidestepped the question! But instead of nailing him on that, Romney took issue about when Obama first called it an “act of terror”!
It gets worse: When Obama said he called it an act of terror the day after, Romney thought he had caught him in a lie:
ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
OBAMA: Get the transcript.
CROWLEY: It – it – it – he did in fact, sir. So let me – let me call it an act of terror…
OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
Who needs Google when you have Republican propaganda!
On gun control when asked about limiting AK-47s, Romney ruled out any change to the law. Instead:
I believe if we do a better job in education, we’ll, we’ll give people the hope and opportunity they deserve, and perhaps less violence from that.
But let me mention another thing, and that is parents. We need moms and dads helping raise kids. … to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone – that’s a great idea because if there’s a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will, will be able to achieve increase dramatically.
So we can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence and give them opportunity and bring them in the American system.
The gun industry has spent millions during this election on Romney’s behalf.