Second Presidential Debate Grades – Obama, Romney, Crowley, Clinton, Michelle Obama and MSNBC get their marks

Hillary Clinton – A

Hillary may have been the big winner of the night.  She boxed Obama into a corner yesterday.  She landed in Peru and went on the air to assume responsibility for her State Department.  Something Obama has refused to do for over a month.  Leadership.  Despite her complete and utter failure as Secretary of State, she put Barry in a no win situation last night.    She accepted responsibility and deprived Barry of being able to assign blame.  So Obama could either hide behind her or assume responsibility for himself.  He chose the latter with a prepared speech Crowley allowed him to deliver.   Hillary is in the clear.  I am telling you – I think the Clintons got him on this one.

Candy Crowley – F

What a national disgrace.  Her questions stacked the deck against Romney.  She allowed the President to interrupt, change topics, run long, be disrespectful to his opponent and lie repeatedly.  On at least two occasions she came to the defense of Obama.  Most notably, on Benghazi where she incorrectly asserted facts to shut down Romney’s reply.   There was another time Obama added $3T in phantom costs to an already debunked $5T figure.  Just as Romney was getting ready to discredited the entire thing – Crowley jumped in and said something to the effect “before you start quoting studies, let me redirect the question to a safe zone for Obama”.    At one point, the President called Romney a liar and she denied Mitt a chance to respond.  No one tuned in to see her, yet she was determined to steal the show.  Obama lied repeatedly about oil production,  Romney’s tax plan, Libya and she didn’t fact check him.  She infamously incorrectly fact checked Romney.

She interrupted Romney 28 times. Obama 9.  28 times in a 90 minute debate.  The MODERATOR.  There is no better example of how the press has impacted this entire election.  Mitt would be up 5-10 points without them.  Disgraceful.

GOP / RNC  – F

I am so sick of the GOP agreeing to these ‘neutral’ moderators and debate formats.  The independent debate committee is a joke.  A CNN news anchor, Public Broadcasting Anchor and a person that hosted Obama at her wedding are not neutral.  Voters in a state that went to Obama by 20+ points in 2008 are not neutral.  Shame on the GOP for agreeing to terms like this and shame on them for allowing last minute debate rules to allow Crowley that much freedom.

Michelle Obama – F

Classless Flotus broke the audience rules and led the round of applause during the exchange on Libya.  Are you kidding?

Romney – B

Romney was every bit as good as two weeks ago.  Mitt landed some major body blows on Obama last night.  It was great.  Polls are suggesting Obama won on points.  I have seen averages of a 7 point spread 42-35 with the rest calling it a tie.  No where near the 40 point blow out of two weeks ago in favor or Mitt.  BUT, the same polls show Mitt won 2 to 1 on the economy.  Great job.  He did what he needed to do last night.  He appeared Presidential and held his own.    He offered a scathing accounting of the President’s record.  That was devastating.  He got Obama on Oil.  Fast and Furious.  Mitt made two easily correctable mistakes.  First, stop asking the President questions.  This give Obama a chance to steal the microphone back.  Pose them as a question but don’t give him something to respond to during your time.  He can use his two minutes any way he wants, don’t give him yours.  Second, Libya.  He could have driven a truck through that opening but missed it.  To be fair, Crowley’s involvement was similar to the officiating  at the end of the Packer / Seahawk game.  Mitt clearly came down with the ball and she awarded it to Obama.  Next debate is foreign policy.  Mitt has seen Obama’s playbook and can be better next week


They got what they wanted and Chris Matthews peed his pants.  I am very happy for them

Obama – C

I am sure the press says he won.  I am sure the Democrats are all giving him A+’s today.  In reality, this debate didn’t help him.  At best it stopped the bleeding, at worse, it did more damage.  Let me explain.  Obama had no where to go but up after the beating he took last debate so his performance bar was set very low.  Artificially so.  On those points, he soared.  He may have lied, but he did so with passion and conviction and with a moderator allergic to the truth, he was given free reign.   I promise he is feeling energized today.  I promise the liberal press can’t type their glee fast enough and the democratic base is believing again.  Two problems:

1.  Libya, he may have won the moment, but last night assured Libya will stay in the news as he was caught in yet another lie.  There are weeks of records of his administration misleading the public.  He stood in the well of the UN and mentioned the YouTube video 6 times, but did not call Benghazi a terror attack carried out by Al Qaeda.  Obama may have been offended but Mitt wasn’t making accusations.  Those things happened.  Obama’s delegate to the UN lied repeatedly on Sunday talk shows and Obama did leave the Rose garden to go to fundraisers.  Mitt missed his moment on this topic, but he will have another shot on Monday and the President dug a hole for himself.  Crowley walked back her comments after the debate.  She should have kept her mouth shut while Romney was talking, but she is on record.  So is Obama.  As noted earlier – Hillary helped.

2.  Independents.   The base was already in the bag for Obama.  So was the press.  They just needed a reason.  They got it.  What about undecided voters and independents.  Independents are currently swinging Romney by double digits.  That’s huge.  Is this how you want your President to act?  Personal attacks, no vision for a second term.  Divisive.  Smug.  Aggressive.   Obama was elected in 2008 on Hope and Change.  His campaign this year is anything but.  It is nasty, ugly, partisan and shallow.  Swing voters pulled the lever from him last time because they wanted something to believe in.  Now his is offering four years of failed policies and campaign based on class warfare and fear.  I saw an interview with one undecided voter that captured it well.  She voted for Obama in 2008.  Her choice this year is Mitt or stay home.  That is her undecided vote.  I think there is a lot of that going on.  Mitt needs to give them a reason to vote for him.  He did again last night.   Obama is dangerously close to giving them a reason to vote against him.  Like I said, Obama stopped the bleeding, plugged the holes but he didn’t recapture momentum.

Overall Winner: Romney.

CNN and CBS News both produced polls that declared Obama a marginal winner, but the internals were absolutely brutal for the President.  Romney had commanding leads on virtually every issue, including amazing leads of 18 and 31 percent on the economy, respectively.  CNN also gave him a 7-point edge on tax policy and a 23-point advantage on the deficit.  Economy, taxes, deficit: that’s game, set, and match in this election.Unlike the CBS poll, CNN polled registered voters, not just undecideds.

Economy: Romney wins 58-40%

Health care: Romney wins 49-46%.

Taxes: Romney wins 51-44%.

Deficit: Romney wins 49-36%.

Strong leader: Romney wins 49-46%.

The worst news is that 25% of voters switched their vote to Romney and 25% wen to Obama.

In other words, Obama didn’t move the ball, which is what he needed to do.

Updated with one late grade:

The Press – F –

One interesting side note about media reaction comes from Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times, who  writes that unknown to debate viewers, reporters in the media room “erupted into applause after President Obama ridiculed the size of Mitt Romney’s personal wealth.”  That was during the exchange where Romney asked if Obama was familiar with the investments made by his pension plan, and Obama (who very much does not want to discuss the Chinese investments held by said pension fund) joked that he doesn’t pay much attention to it, because it’s so much smaller than Romney’s.  It’s odd that the media would think such a clumsy bit of class warfare would be a stand-up-and-cheer moment, because the voters obviously don’t think so.


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