By Thomas Hair
Going into the first presidential debate in Denver, enormous pressure was on Mitt Romney to show voters that he has what it takes to hold his own under the spotlight. However, he not only held his own against Barack Obama, he steamrolled him. Romney was more aggressive, prepared and relatable than Obama, who seemed aloof and distracted. The contrast was so significant that national polls showed a substantial increase in support for the Republican candidate.
At 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Obama and Romney squared off for the second time – at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. This time, the pressure was on the President to prove that he deserves to keep his title despite his dud of a first debate.
Unlike in Denver, the second debate was set up in a “Town Hall” format, with eighty randomly selected undecided voters sitting in a small room with the candidates and moderator Candy Crowley.
A college student named Jeremy kicked things off with a question about higher education and employment. From there a broad scope of issues were covered, with the intensity in the room swelling higher and higher as the debate continued. At times, the candidates would walk towards each other appear almost ready to resort to blows! Such moments erupted when Romney brought up Obama’s pension and when the topic of oil policies was raised. In the latter moment, Obama almost seemed to be shouting.
This more aggressive approach was just what Obama needed to prove to America that he is serious about his potential second term. Tonight, Obama wasn’t caught off guard by Romney’s jabs a week ago. He didn’t merely repeat his typical verbiage, but had counter-attacks and evidence planned out for seemingly every scenario. It suffices to say that Obama was the victor of the second Presidential Debate, but Romney made sure that it was only a small victory that only partially made up for last week’s misstep.