My immediate reaction to the stage (before the candidates came out) was "boy, those chairs are as high as Clint Eastwood's during the RNC." This time, though, neither President Obama nor Governor Romney were mailing in their debate performance. They were constantly countering each other's "facts" and (politely) cutting each other's records and positions.
I was particularly impressed by Obama's immediate replies to several of Romney's whoppers - on the auto bailout, on drilling on federal lands, on Romney's tax plan. Some of the questions seemed to be skewed towards progressive positions (Lily Ledbetter Act, assault weapons bans, immigration). I was less impressed by Romney, especially since he kept reiterating his "five point plan" talking points without actually saying much about how he'd accomplish it.
Candy Crowley did a much better job of keeping things moving than Jim Lehrer did. That being said, neither of the candidates was going to shut up before he finished making his point (whatever the point was), and they consistently ran over the allotted time as a result. However, she did a great job of asking followup questions, and AFAICT got to all the audience questions.
My guess? Anyone thinking that Obama doesn't want a second term (and there were plenty thinking that after the first debate!) now knows otherwise. Romney was busy shaking his Etch-A-Sketch, and it'll be interesting to see if any of the conservative types call him on it.
These opinions, of course, are worth at most whatever you've paid me for them. After all, I thought the first debate wasn't a "game-changing moment", and everybody else thought it was a huge win for Romney.
Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/152981.html - comment wherever you please.