BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
The first debate was seen as a blow to the Obama campaign, the President dug himself into a hole and many wondered if he would ever be able to get himself out of the strain on his campaign and dismal poll numbers. Last night was the resurrection of Obama, the President came swinging and judgment, he delivered to Romney without compromise. Obama was fired up and wasted no time to take it to Romney in a heated debate that generated interests all over the world among those disappointed by the President’s performance at the initial debate.
It was a night in which Obama revealed the energy his supporters have been waiting for. This time, team Obama forcefully defended his policies without giving Romney the opportunity to render him a lame President whose policies have failed to revive the economy. Rather, the incumbent turned the table on his opponent by challenging his shifting positions on key issues such as his tax proposal which Obama again, said would favor the wealthy and shortchange the middle class.
No doubt Obama has resurrected, a CNN/ORC international poll taken after the debate indicated 46% of respondent thought the President won, compared to 39% in favor of Romney. The same debate done in Colorado after the first debate on October 3 had given 60% to Romney while the President scored far less. Last night Obama had a stronger debate. Though, he did not shed his style as a smooth operator, what became unique was the way he handled the attacks by Romney and what some have called a somehow “rude” interruption of the incumbent by the opponent.
Rather than being over aggressive, Obama handled his opponent wisely demonstrating the quality of a leader. It was a case of “okay, I’m in charge and will make my case to America no matter your argument and opposition.” While it may still be early to say if his performance would give the edge he needed, Obama was able to defend his economic policies by giving appropriate answers to questions asked by the audience while his opponent sometimes swayed from the question and had to be put on track by the moderator.
To say Romney had a bad night would be unfair. His performance was reminiscent of the last debate. Romney came on the attack early and deftly dispatched Obama on his economic record, education, unemployment and the issue of China over which the Romney campaign claimed the Obama administration has been slow to act. Obama shot back by making clear to the people his administration has done more to neutralize the effect of China on the economy than the previous administrations and still continue to exert pressure on China over devaluation of its currency, which so far, has helped increase the value of Chinese currency by 11%.
Romney attacked Obama on the rising Federal deficit and debts which he blamed on the policies of the Obama administration that in his words, made more than 20 million people in American to be unemployed. “We don’t have to settle for what we are going through,” he said. “We don’t have to settle for gasoline at four bucks. We don’t have to settle for unemployment at a chronically high level. We don’t have to settle for 47 million people on food stamps. We don’t have to settle for 50 percent of kids coming out of college not able to get work. We don’t have to settle for 23 million people struggling to find a good job.”
While all these may be true, Romney failed during the debate to convince America that Obama’s policies are bad for the nation. However, Obama was able to remind America that the current economic woes are a result of the bad policies implemented by the previous administration of George Bush. In fact, Romney failed to explain how his policies would work and was short of providing specifics of his tax plan, even when a member of the audience inquired about the deductions and loopholes the candidate promised to eliminate.
On foreign policy, Romney attacked the President on his actions immediately after the attack on the embassy in Libya that killed four Americans including ambassador Christopher Stevens. He claimed the Obama administration injected politics by failing to immediately state it was a terrorist attack. Obama did not waste time to respond, he said to play politics on such an issue affecting American would be “offensive.” The President referred to how he called the event a terrorist attack immediately after it occurred. This again was challenged by Romney, and Obama said “check the transcript.”
The entire campaign center rose to applause in support of Mr. Obama when Candy Crowley intervened to confirm Mr. Obama was right, that he indeed referred to terrorism soon after the attack though, Crowley tried to be diplomatic by saying both men were right.
On immigration Romney claimed Obama failed to deliver on a promise to pass a major immigration overhaul. At a point he injected private anecdote by saying his father was born in Mexico to drive home what he has been saying throughout his campaign that he is for giving migrants a fair share of the American dream. Obama was quick to add that Romney has been a champion of conservative positions against a plan that would give children of illegal immigrants a path to legal status.
So far, early polls are showing Obama carried the night. Once again, he was able to convince his supporters he is in it, to win it and was able to deliver without compromise to his opponent. The President did not allow Romney’s aggressive tactics to overcome his defense ability however, what will determine the election is the economy and unemployment. To win, Obama must convince Americans who are yet to feel the impact of the change he promised, that the next four years is bound to be result oriented.
Dr Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ his first work of fiction. Follow on Twitter @san0670.