President Obama set the tone for what was to come when he said, “What I’ve tried to do is be consistent.”
Tonight’s highly anticipated second presidential debate, moderated by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley already had eyebrows raised even before it aired. The town hall meeting style, complete with pre-screened questions submitted by voters who described themselves as ‘undecided’, has high expectations for both Mitt Romney, who must meet or exceed the same level of performance as he did during the first debate — and President Obama, who must FAR exceed voters’ hopes, especially voters on the left, in order to regain the ground lost during his perceived lackluster performance during the first debate.
Town hall meetings with pre-screened questions lose the effect that spontaneity would have on the candidates — something Ms. Crowley must believe because she made it clear that she would interject with her own questions whenever she saw fit, despite the misgivings of both the President and Mr. Romney. Given this critical stage of the campaign, asking questions is the least she could do for the audience.
The debate began with this question (paraphrased):
As a 20 year old student I need to know how I will be able to support myself after I graduate?
Romney said he wants to make it easier to finish college and make it easier to find a job. Keep the PELL grant program flowing. With no concrete examples, all Mr. Romney said is that he knows “what it takes to create good jobs again.” Um, how, Mitt?
The POTUS said he wants to build on the 5 million jobs created in the last 30 months. We can start with building up manufacturing jobs. (1) Change tax code to companies investing in jobs in the U.S. (2) Make student loans more affordable and work with community colleges (3) build energy sources for the future. Reduce the deficit so we can invest in education.
Those seem like answers and a plan, as opposed to the “I know how to get things done” responses.
The big difference between this debate and round 1 is the POTUS’ assertiveness and willingness to call untruths when he hears them.
Because as soon as Mr. Romney opens his mouth, whether it’s about getting tough on China, a woman’s reproductive rights, coal and clean energy and, certainly, tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens.