posted 2012-10-16 19:41:37

Barry & Mittens

Phyll Pope

Opinion Editor

The same Mitt Romney that showed up at the first Presidential Debate showed up tonight in New York - and lost. Barack Obama, after a lackluster, sleepy perfor- mance last time showed up and then some tonight in a verbal joust with Governor Romney which, George Will, republican commentator on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, called “immeasur- ably the best” debate he’s ever seen. And that guy’s old as hell, so we are talking about a lot of debates.

Despite the town-hall format be- ing much less conducive to direct talk between the candidates, the debate was about as contentious and heated as it gets, each candidate trading verbal jabs. Romney sure looked to land a couple of knockout punches, but it came off much too transparently. At one point he took a question about immigration, and abruptly, indelicately switched the topic to Obama’s tax returns, trying to make a point about Obama’s contributions to China, before being stopped by Crowley, the moderator.

Perhaps it wasn’t fair. Just as low expectations for Governor Romney coming into the first debate boosted his performance, so would Obama had looked well enough if he actually came out here and tried. He did more than that, taking advantage of all the openings he didn’t use during the first debate. Most effectively bringing up the 47% comment in his clos- ing, leaving Romney without a chance to retort.

The real loser tonight, and in every debate for the rest of ALL TIME? Jim Lehrer. Two wimps showed up to the first Presidential debate in Denver, but unfortu- nately for Lehrer, only Obama got a second chance to improve his image. For a second debate in a row we were reminded of what the job of a journalist is; fact-checking. When the question was asked about Libya, Obama responded by saying that on the day after the attack, he was in the Rose Garden calling it an act of terror. Romney jumped out of his chair, asking Obama if he called it an act of terror, thinking he caught Obama in a lie. His eyes perked up, eyebrows raised. “Check the transcript” Obama replied. Unfortunately Candy Crowley stepped in, saying “He did call it an act of terror,” and she received the greatest applause of the night.

So the biggest winner Tuesday night? Journalism.