2 Points on the Second Debate

By James Fallows

Which I didn't watch in laboratory isolation as I did the first time but with background commentary via The Twitter (via a VPN to get around the Great Firewall).

1) Obama was as strong and "on" tonight as he was weak and flat the first time.

2) In debate #1, Romney illustrated one of the main points about his debate performance: how good he can be when prepared. In debate #2, he illustrated the other: that he can be rattled, off-message, and error-prone when caught in a surprise move. As witness this:



Details for later examination: Obama's use of the 47 percent in his closing comments (when Romney couldn't answer it -- but after Romney had opened the topic by saying he was for 100 percent of the public); Romney's answer or non-answer about the math of his tax proposals; the line on whose pension plan was bigger; "binders full of women"; immigration; switcheroo tactics on G.W. Bush; and so on.

Obama showed he could do much better when focused; Romney, that the surprise critique is a challenge for him. That's it for now. Late for another China-factory tour (and the bizarro-world contrast between what you see in these actual factories and how the international flow of jobs is discussed in a debate).

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/2-points-on-the-second-debate/263731/