About 61 million viewers watched it on cable and broadcast TV, down 9% from the first debate, according to Nielsen. At the end of it:
1. President Obama stopped the bleeding
2. Mitt Romney stayed in the game
3. Race remains competitive
TAKEAWAYS (compiled from Politico) – Offense is the best defense Obama was clearly making up for lost time (and lost poll support). Romney was also aggressive, but Obama’s performance was more notable for the contrast to the first debate. One stage, two potential presidents Democrats are calling the debate a clear win for Obama. Republican strategist Bruce Haynes of Purple Strategies, “They battled to a draw. I suspect the snap polls will give a small advantage to Obama because he improved so substantially over the last debate. Romney and Libya A viewer asked Romney a question related to the events in Benghazi and the Obama Administration’s contradictory answers about them. Obama was able to say that on Sept. 12 at the White House he had referred to the Mideast violence as “acts of terror.” Republicans have taken issue with the fact that moderator Candy Crowley gave Obama some backup during this moment in the debate by agreeing that the president actually said those words. But it was Romney who challenged Obama on the veracity of his statement. (Obama did use the actual words ‘acts of terror,” though he did not definitively describe the events that day as the work of terrorists.) Still, Obama turned the moment and used it to take responsibility for what happened and look presidential. Are binders the new Big Bird? Romney had some strong moments connecting with the town hall-style audience early on. In response to a question about equal pay for women he talked about, as Massachusetts governor, wanting more women employees and having “binders” full of women’s names to pick from for possible jobs in his administration. The phrase “binders full of women” went viral, spawning its own Twitter account and FB page with +193,000 “likes.” Contrary to their claims, these guys really don’t like each other During a protracted exchange early on, Obama and Romney closed in on one another, interrupting, raising hands, trying to get words in edgewise. Seemed to set the tone for the evening.