By Erin Drushel

[avatar user=”ErinDrushel” size=”thumbnail” align=”left”]Erin Drushel[/avatar]

…And, Hey! The President showed up!

Obama’s Performance:

It’s fairly easy to compare the President’s performance last night to his lackluster performance of two weeks ago.  Last night he was present – not just standing there in the room frowning, but present.

He delivered the performance that supporters were expecting in the first debate.  He was cool but passionate.  He was much sharper in pointing out his accomplishments and more cutting with his attacks on Romney’s platform.  Obama was clearly and confidently in command of the night.  He was able to raise the issues of his choice and weave them throughout the debate.  And unlike the last meeting, Obama was able to get under Romney’s skin.

Romney’s Performance:

Overall, Romney had a strong performance but there were some notable stumbles.  He seemed to be a lot more susceptible to anger this time around.  This was the Obama he’s been training for – but the President still managed to get him riled.

Notably, Romney’s biggest stumble of the night was his comments on the embassy attack in Libya, saying it took too long for the President to identify the attack as terrorism.  The moderator, Candy Crowley, proceeded to point out from a transcript that the President did refer to acts of terrorism the day after.   This tense exchange seemed to knock the wind out of Romney for the rest of the debate, making the tone of his remaining answers more subdued.

What I liked:

I was just happy there was a real debate this time around.  Both men were fiery and ready to go head-to-head.  It was like two jungle cats circling their prey…

What I didn’t like:

Another evening of poor moderation.  It started out strong, but then it just got out of hand… then that led to petty bickering over the debate clock… and that led to massive eye-rolling by me…

In terms of the questions, I don’t want to be too critical.  After all, it is a Town Hall and these are genuine questions that real voters have…however, I’m not a fan of what I call “soap box” questions:

“Governor Romney, how are you different from George W. Bush?” OR

“President Obama, what have you done to earn my vote in 2012?”

These are valid questions.  But they are just an opening for the candidates to get up on their respective soap boxes and cite accomplishments or spew attacks… or both.

Favourite quote of the night:

“I don’t look at my pension… it’s not as big as yours, so it doesn’t take as long.” – President Obama

General Observations:

One thing I’ve noticed in these last two presidential debates is that the moderators don’t tend to be as forceful with the time limits on the President.  I don’t know if they’re even aware they’re doing it… but they seem reluctant to interrupt him too many times.  However, I can see how it may be hard to tell the “Leader of the Free World” to put a lid on it…

And you know what I want?  I want a time clock – like in football – ticking away in the corner of the television so we can see how much the candidates go over their allotted time.  Every once in a while we caught a glimpse of the time clock in the background on the stage… often in overtime-red.  Perhaps it is a bit nerdy of me, but I would like to know.

See it for Yourself!

If you missed yesterday’s debate, you can view it in its entirety below:

Next up the final Presidential Debate: October 22

Check your local listings for details.

– Erin Drushel

Click here to read our live Twitter feed from last night’s debate. More discussion, including the questions our audience submitted – that they would have asked at last night’s debate, will air on the next InRetro Radio show for tomorrow tonight.