President Obama proved he's a second-half quarterback during Tuesday night's (October 16) rematch against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Following an admitted fumble during the previous faceoff in Denver — even Mr. President himself later admitted he "had a bad night" — the question remained: Was it just a slip-up or might Romney just be the better player?
The president proved the former during Round Two at Long Island's Hofstra University, showing that he was just as talented a debater as his opponent. It was a crucial night for both campaigns, as the Governor felt the pressure to hold on to the footing he gained in Denver while the President, back against the wall, had to come out swinging. And for a moment there, America thought one of them might actually take a swing.
We've wrapped up the most exciting — and some of the most awkward — moments from the fire-filled 90 minutes.
No Matter Who's Elected, Jeremy Will Find A Job
The first question of the night came from 20-year-old college student Jeremy Epstein who asked a question on the minds of many young voters: How will you ensure that young people will have employment after graduation? Romney replied that the current administration has "crushed the middle class" and failed in putting Americans back to work. Obama shot back saying his opponent wants to ensure that the rich "play by a different set of rules," and instead emphasized the importance of developing alternative forms of energy and of building manufacturing jobs — instead of following Romney's policy of "letting Detroit go bankrupt."
What followed was a bunch of numbers, a pile of statistics and a lot of promises from both candidates. Either way, both ensured one thing: If you elect me, Jeremy Epstein will have a job.
Everyone Pull Out Your Pensions
While laying out his plan to get Americans back to work, Obama was quick to dub his opponent "the last person who's going to get tough on China," saying he invested in companies that were "pioneers of outsourcing" to the country. Romney later went what moderator Candy Crowley deemed "way off topic" when he turned to Obama and asked, "Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?" And in perhaps the most comical moment of the night, the POTUS delivered a quick-witted response in a reference to Romney's higher-than-the-average-American income: "No, I haven't looked at my pension. It's not as big as yours so it doesn't take that long." The governor jabbed back by saying his opponent also has investments in Chinese companies, but even he had to admit, that was a good one.
'Binders Full Of Women': The Meme That Made Itself
After they established that Lilly Ledbetter is not a "Game of Thrones" character, Romney and Obama both made valiant attempts to appeal to voters with personal examples of how they will ensure equal opportunity in the workplace. Obama reminded America that he was raised by a single mother, in case they'd forgotten, and that he has two daughters who he wants to ensure "the same opportunity's anybody's sons have." As for Romney, he said he made a pointed effort to have as many women on his Cabinet as governor of Massachussetts. Not just a few, but "binders of women." Binders. Of women.
Candy Crowley Might Have Won The Whole Thing
Traditionally, moderators in a town hall play a limited role, an effort to make the debate one truly controlled by the voters. Candy Crowley, however, threw tradition and the "no follow-up questions" rule out the window, even acting as a fact-checker. It all started when a voter asked about the Obama administration's response to an attack in Libya that killed American ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
After criticizing his opponent for what he called an attempt to "turn national security into a political issue," Obama went on to say, "The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the rose garden, and I told the American people that ... this was an act of terror and I also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime." Romney, however, questioned that statement, saying Obama waited two weeks to call it an act of terror. Crowley backed up Obama, saying he did indeed use the word "terror" the day after the attack.
The Moment Everyone Was Waiting (And Waiting) For
In what was undoubtedly a premeditated move, President Obama saved his hardest punch for the end during his final, two-minute closing statement. After remaining quiet about it for weeks, he finally called out Romney for dismissing 47 percent of Americans for relying on the government at a Florida fundraiser. And it was a zinger.
"When he said behind closed doors that 47 percent of the country considered themselves victims who refuse personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about," Obama said. "Folks on Social Security who've worked all their lives. Veterans who've sacrificed for this country. Students who are out there trying to hopefully advance their own dreams, but also this country's dreams ...I want to fight for them. That's what I've been doing for the last four years. Because if they succeed, I believe the country succeeds."
Whether he'll recover from the last hit, we'll see during Monday's debate in Boca Raton, Florida.
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