At times, it sounded more like a playground argument than a Presidential debate:
Romney: “How much did you cut licenses and permits on Federal land and Federal waters?”
Obama: “Governor Romney, here's what we did. There were a whole bunch of oil companies-“
Romney: “No, no, I had a question and the question was how much did you cut them by?”
Obama: “You want me to answer a question –“
Romney: “How much did you cut them by?”
Obama: “I'm happy to answer the question.”
Romney: “All right. And it is?”
If Romney's goal was to get in the president's face, he succeeded. But once he got there, he often fell on his face:
Romney: “Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?”
Obama: “You know, I don't look at my pension. It's not as big as yours so it doesn't take as long."
And Romney's worst moment should have been his best: his challenge on how the president handled the September 11th attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya backfired:
Romney: “You said in the Rose Garden, the day after the attack, it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration?”
Obama: “Please proceed.”
Romney: “Is that what you’re saying?”
Obama: “Please proceed, Governor.”
Romney: “I-I-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.”
For the record, Obama did say, "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation…" and that's enough to win him the point.
Women were a key target for both candidates. Romney had been gaining support from them recently, but last night he came up short, with this awkward statement about hiring women:
Romney: "I went to a number of women's groups and said, can you help us find folks, and they brought us whole binders full of women.”
The president's answer was much smarter:
Obama: “In my health care bill, I said insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage to everybody who is insured. Because this is not just a – a health issue, it's an economic issue for women.”
Democrats got the President Obama they wanted in this debate and, this time, it was the smooth Mitt Romney who didn't show up.
So, after two debates, they’ve each had a win, which just makes the stage bigger and brighter for their final showdown next week.