Mitt Romney easily won last night’s second Presidential debate. He walked into a hostile arena, before a hostile audience. He took on a hostile (and mendacious) moderator as well as the arrogant and equally mendacious Barack Obama. He left Obama swinging after the bell, and CNN’s Candy Crowley shouting a ten-count long after the boxer has left the ring, cup in hand.
Second Presidential Debate Awards
First, the awards for the Second Presidential Debate:
The Shovel Award
This goes to the contestant who can “shovel it on” with the greatest eloquence. Mitt Romney won easily. He brought his shovel and used it to good effect. Mitt Romney can never expect every voter to receive his message gladly. He’s right: too many voters want their goodies. Mitt Romney does not promise a turkey in every pot. Never has, never will. But he listens, and can talk directly to people, not at them.
Barack Obama harangued Mitt Romney, the audience, the national viewers, and even Candy Crowley whenever he spoke. (By the way: he spoke 3 minutes, or 6 to 7 percent, more than Mitt Romney did.) He shouted as if he were in a factory or airplane hangar, before a crowd of adoring fans. The second part might be true. No crowd is more liberal than students at a typical university. Universities are the incubators of socialism in America today, and Hofstra University is no exception. But the first part was not correct. He was on a stage that he shared with his opponent and one moderator. RANTING AND RAVING AND SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS could never win friends nor influence people in that setting.
And why did Barack Obama shout so in this Presidential debate? For answer:
The Bucket Award
This goes to the contestant who can catch it with the greatest dexterity. Mitt Romney won again. He had two people dumping on him: Barack Obama and Candy Crowley. “Sit down, sir,” she said at one point, as if Mitt Romney were a miscreant teen-ager in disgrace. But Barack Obama disgraced himself worse. Mitt Romney rounded on him for cutting licenses and permits for oil drilling on federal lands and waters by half. When Obama denied it, Romney challenged him to say by how much he had cut those licenses and permits. Obama pleaded that he had seen oil production rise on private lands. But Romney pointed to Obama’s suspending oil leases on public lands, and offshore. (Romney forgot to mention that Obama gave the Brazilians and even the Cubans free license to drill in the Gulf.)
Which brings us to:
The Bad Call Award
This booby prize goes to Candy Crowley. “Sit down, sir” was her first offense. Her worst offense came at the end. She let a questioner ask, at last, about the Benghazi attack. Barack Obama said that the day after the attack, he said in the Rose Garden that the Benghazi Attack was an attack, and an act of terror. Mitt Romney disputed that:
I just want to get that on the record. Because in fact your administration took two weeks to make up its mind that this was an act of terror.
“Get the transcript,” Obama ordered. Not asked. Ordered. And Candy Crowley obeyed. She said the same thing that Obama said.
The problem: both were wrong.
Barack Obama said this in the Rose Garden on September 12:
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.
Was he talking about the Benghazi Attack? Or was he talking about the original September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and another target we may never identify? Those words cannot tell us. Furthermore, we’ve been over this before. David Axelrod tried to tell that same lie last month. Several mainstream media organs backed him up. But Alana Goodman at Commentary gave the lie to what Axelrod said. So why did Barack Obama say the same thing last night? And how could he be so confident that Candy Crowley would bear him out? Unless they worked it out ahead of time.
This is where Mitt Romney missed a chance to pound Obama again. He should have said:
Let’s assume that when you said that “No acts of terror will…shake [our] resolve,…” you were really talking about the Benghazi Attack. Then why did you send your UN Ambassador, five days later, to five different talk shows, to tell the world that Ambassador Stevens died on account of a silly video? Why did you yourself mention that video to the UN six times, and tell the UN that the future must not belong to those who insult the Prophet Muhammad? (And what would Commodore Preble, who led an operation in the very country in question, have to say to you about that? Or President Jefferson, who sent him there?)
After the Presidential debate, Candy Crowley admitted—sort of—that she called it wrong. (See one of the video embeds below.)
Top Question of the Presidential Debate
That wasn’t the Libya question. The Libya question is the perfect set-up to the third Presidential Debate in Boca Raton, FL next Monday, on foreign policy. But the top question last night came from a college student who asked, in effect: What have you done for me lately? Barack Obama had no answer, other than his usual platitudes. Mitt Romney had an answer: make new jobs possible, and don’t kill them, as Barack Obama has done.
How the media took the Second Presidential Debate
Most media organs picked as the winner the candidate they endorse for President. But The Wall Street Journal said it best: he showed more spirit, but still has no plan. And the WSJ also picked up on the “what have you done for me lately” question, and Obama’s non-answer.
David Codrea, the Gun Rights Examiner, lamented that Mitt Romney threw away a chance to question Barack Obama about Operation Fast and Furious. Romney did mention it once. But he did not press the point nearly as hard as Univisión did. Nor did he press the real point: that Operation Fast and Furious was about giving throw-down weapons to bad people, to excuse draconian gun control in America. Nor ask why “executive privilege” should apply to documents that the House Oversight Committee asked for.
One last Presidential Debate will take place. The two candidates will talk about foreign policy. Mitt Romney dropped a hint of what will come last night: the Obama policy has failed. Mitt Romney called him on that last night, and will likely do so next week.
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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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