It was a very different Obama from the one who barely showed up for the first debate. "Very little of what Governor Romney just said is true," Obama said early in the debate. During the first debate, Obama looked down at his notes or his shoes while Romney spoke. Tonight, he turned away from the audience early to squarely face Romney while directly attacking him.
Romney gave it back to the president, as the two stood nose to nose, each looking as if he'd rather be swinging at his opponent than debating him. "That wasn't a question, that was a statement," Romney told Obama early on, attempting to assert the dominance he won by default in the last debate.
It's easier to lose a debate than to win one. Romney was able to unambiguously win the first debate because Obama so clearly lost.
Tonight's debate went to Obama, but not by as wide a margin. "If you were scoring it on points, Obama wins on points," arch-conservative Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News. Laura Ingraham and Joe Scarborough took to Twitter to ratify Krauthammer's view.
The result is a race that is at once clearer and just as uncertain. It's clearer because both candidates crystalized their vision of their opponent. For Obama, Romney is an out-of-touch plutocrat who invests in China and pays a lower tax rate than you, has a "sketchy deal" for you, and is more extreme than George W. Bush. POST