October 17, 2012, 10:30 pm
By Christopher Malone, associate professor and chair, Department of Political Science, Pace University, New York City
With his performance in the second presidential debate, Barack Obama allowed his supporters to exhale. Not only did the president show up; from the opening question he executed his debate strategy against Governor Romney almost flawlessly. Each two-minute response was framed in all the necessary ways I laid out after the first debate: Obama succinctly took credit for his accomplishments, made clear contrasts between his policies and positions and Romney’s, and defended himself when Romney went on the attack. The only apparent hiccup on the part of the president was his meandering response to a question about gun violence and the lapsed weapons assault ban legislation. But Obama recovered quickly by paraphrasing (of all people) George W. Bush, when he accused the former Massachusetts governor of being “for the assault weapons ban before he was against it.”
That moment crystallizes the retooled strategy of the Obama campaign that will in all likelihood take us through Election Day. It’s not necessarily the economy, stupid – it’s character. If Massachusetts Mitt is going to show up for the rest of the campaign, then expect him to be painted, in the words of Jon Huntsman, as a “perfectly lubricated weathervane.”
October 17, 2012, 10:00 pm
By Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.)
Never mind the usual boxing-style debate roundups or overblown tactical analysis. That’s all well and good – and what a lot of reporters specialize in – but it doesn’t tell us what we really need to know. What’s important to take away from last night’s debate, and every debate, is what it tells us about policy. Last night told us a lot.
The big takeaway is that Mitt Romney doesn’t have an economic plan. You can sugarcoat it, wave your arms around to create a distraction, and dress it up with a hundred right-wing studies, but there’s nothing really there. When he told moderator Candy Crowley with an annoyed smirk, “Of course my numbers add up,” tens of millions of Americans saw the bluster of an executive who didn’t prepare for a board meeting and didn’t expect to be called on it.
October 17, 2012, 09:30 pm
By Joel Rubin, director of policy and government affairs, Ploughshares Fund
The killing of four American patriots in Benghazi, Libya last month was an act of terror. Those four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, represented the best of our country. They put their lives on the line to advance American interests in a volatile region. They deserved the support of their government back home.
October 17, 2012, 09:00 pm
By Cesar Vargas, director, DREAM Action Coalition
In the second presidential debate, Mitt Romney dug himself deeper into the hole on immigration. While both candidates traded barbs, for Romney they stung more. Romney refused to address the 12 million undocumented immigrants already living in the country while at the same time touching bad nerves when he called undocumented immigrants "illegals".
October 17, 2012, 06:30 pm
By Paul JJ Payack, president, The Global Language Monitor
The President Obama of yore (2008, that is) showed up at the debate last night and so was hailed the victor. In fact, the numbers show that it was not that Romney faltered. He did not. Rather it was the president who recovered from his first debate 'debacle' (as viewed by his strongest supporters).
The numbers reveal the story. First, keep this number in mind: 7.4. This is the grade level of Obama's most widely hailed speech, the "Yes, We Can!" Grant Park victory speech. 'Yes, We Can!" is widely perceived as a classic to be enshrined in the American Oratory Hall of Fame along side Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream," Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address,' and Ronald Reagan's "City on a Hill" speeches.
October 17, 2012, 05:00 pm
By Heath Brown, assistant professor of Political Science, Seton Hall University
For the second straight presidential debate, the top trending meme related to one of the least sensational aspects of the contest: the presidential transition period. With due respect to “Big Bird”, the interchange in the first debate over Romney’s “busy first day” and in the second day over “Binders full of women”, drew chuckles and rapid tweeting and re-tweeting. What makes each of these comments interesting, though, is that, while they were clearly not a part of the prepared debate quips, they address a critical issue: how Governor Romney would actually transition into office if elected.
October 17, 2012, 04:00 pm
By Frank Knapp, Jr., president and CEO, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce
One of the highlights of last night’s presidential debate was moderator Candy Crowley’s real-time fact-checking about when President Barrack Obama first used the word “terror” in reference to the murders in Benghazi. We needed such quick corrections in the first debates on another important issue.
In those debates inaccurate statements were made about how allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans to expire on schedule at year-end would affect small-business owners.
October 17, 2012, 03:00 pm
By Scott Lucas, editor and Lee Haddigan, chief writer on U.S. politics, EA WorldView
Forget policy and details. Last night's presidential town hall debate at Hofstra University in New York was about each candidate's acting in the political theatre. Could President Obama atone for his lackluster display in the first debate without appearing too aggressive? Could Mitt Romney maintain the aura from the first debate in Denver of an authentic presidential alternative?
We had answers within the 90 minutes.“Can Obama Rebound?” is now the question of the past. “Can Romney Re-surge?” takes over.
October 16, 2012, 06:00 pm
By Brett Goodin,former fellow, International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, Charlottesville, Va.
Just three months ago at Thomas Jefferson’s historic home, Monticello, 81 citizens were freshly minted in an annual Independence Day naturalization ceremony. One after the other these new citizens took to the podium and spoke with anticipation about voting for the first time in this Presidential election year. For their convenience a voter registration tent was even erected on Monticello’s lawn. Lucky them.
For hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens living overseas, election day means barbeques, embassy functions, and following the election results on TV or the Internet. But for many of us, that’s as far as it goes, because we are not part of the electoral process. Most U.S. citizens born overseas cannot vote. These citizens are disenfranchised, not because of criminal records, voter ID laws, or clerical errors, but simply because legislation never bothered to catch up with them.
October 16, 2012, 03:30 pm
By Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)
A lot can change in 13 days. When the presidential debate takes place tonight it will be that long since the last debate, and Gov. Romney will likely change any aspect of his foreign policy stance that he believes it politically expedient to change or minimize. He has been doing a lot of that lately. What he will not be able to change is the fact that his lack of experience, understanding, and credibility on national security and foreign policy would be a detriment to America’s security. We have seen in candidate Romney a leadership void, a string of policies that lack originality, and a dedication to dogma that harkens back to the Bush policies that in the last decade marred the global standing of our nation.