Who Won Presidential Debate 2012: Crowley Fact Checks Romney on Benghazi Libya Attack


 On Tuesday, October 16th at 9:00 p.m. President Obama and Mitt Romney will meet in the second of three debates. 

The 90 minute town hall style debate will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The debate will be moderated by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, host of the CNN Sunday talk show, State of the Union. The format will consist of the candidates answering questions from audience members selected by the Gallup organization, with Crowley facilitating the discussion. Topics will include questions on foreign, economic and domestic policy.

The general consensus is that Romney won the first debate by displaying his command of economics and using his business acumen. Romney leaped into the lead in a number of national polls on the basis of his performance. After the debate, many of those on the side of Obama openly questioned whether Obama had properly prepared for the debate and the harsher criticism was whether Obama was motivated to win the election. Much of that concern was allayed by the performance of VP Joe Biden in his debate against Paul Ryan.

Since, the last debate, there has been significant events that could influence the debate discussion. The September labor report was released immediately after the first debate and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.8% the lowest it has been since Obama took office. On the other hand the Libyan embassy incident in Benghazi continues to snowball, and negative criticism of the administration’s handling of the incident is growing.

Both the first debate and the VP debate spent a good amount of time on the economy including the debt and the deficit and a good deal of discussion on domestic policies like health care and Social Security. However a number of policy areas have not been discussed, most notably immigration reform.

Immigration reform is an economic and national security issue affecting millions of Americans and American businesses. It was a broken campaign promise of Obama and was covered extensively during the Republican presidential primary. Obama’s directive to selectively prosecute undocumented immigrants involved in crimes, while temporarily suspending the active prosecution of young people, under a quasi-DREAM Act status has come under fire from both opponents and proponents of the DREAM Act.

Mitt Romney and Joe Biden won their respective debates by being aggressive and forcing Obama and Ryan respectively to defend their records. Democrats will expect Obama to follow Biden’s lead and pin Romney down on detail about his tax plan, while making him defend any contradictory statements he has made in the past. Republicans will want Romney to do more of the same from the first debate, i.e. make Obama defend the results of his economic policies over the past 4 years.

PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.

UPdate 3:00PM  Crowley Fact Check Moment

Crowley Fact Check Moment

ROMNEY: I — I think interesting the president just said something which — which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.

OBAMA: That's what I said.

ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror.

It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you're saying?

OBAMA: Please proceed governor.

ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

OBAMA: Get the transcript.

CROWLEY: It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. So let me — let me call it an act of terror...

OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?

CROWLEY: He — he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take — it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.

UPDATE 10:42 Brisk debate; very combative; Crowley strong and assertive with Romney; Romney gave crisp.concise review of Obama's record, strong on immigration. Obama came ready; Crowley fact check on Benghazi will lead tommorrow's headlines. Obama did well. Romney did well. No clear cut winner. But Obama in a close victory. fact check time

UPDATE 10:38 Obama saves 47% remark for closing statement. Obama asks for the vote.

UPDATE 10:17 Gun Control - Romney brings up Fast and Furious. Crowley challenges Romney on assault gun ban flip flop. Obama says Romney flip flopped to get NRA vote.

UPDATE 10:15 Question on Benghazi. Crowley just caught Romney in a lie. Romney back peddaling. Check - Obama

UPDATE 10:08

UPDATE 10:00 Immigration is the next topic. Romney supports increasing H1B type visas for those graduating with STEM degrees. Romney reminds of Obama's failed 2008 promise for immigration. No mention of border security, military use on the border, drones or fences. No mention of "self-deportation". Romney "I was not the standard bearer on immigration" Now they are just plain bickering.

UPDATE 9:55 Romney has a different view. Romney chronicles Obama's failed record. The first mention of immigration!!

UPDATE 9:51 New question appears to be so soft it is like ice cream. Obama gets to compare 2008 to now. So this is set up on a tee.

UPDATE 9:50 "pioneers of outsourcing" Obama accuses Romney of investing in companies that build surveillance equipment for China. Obama seems to be fending off Romney 45 minutes into the debate.

No clear victor.

UPDATE 9:47 Romney asked to compare and contrast his policies with Bush. The Republican braintrust collaborates on a response.

UPDATE 9:40 New question - equal pay for equal work. Pay equity for women. Lily Ledbetter - Obama yay, Romney, abstain. Planned Parenthood - Obama yay, Romney, nay

UPDATE 9:34 Obama is much more engaged. Romney,"if someone came to you with a your plan as a equity banker, you wouldn't take the deal" Romney says Obama's math that doesn't add up - 4 trillion in deficits. Romney touts his business background. Crowley and Romney have been sparring the whole debate.

UPDATE 9:24 Taxes and deductions, are the next question. Top 5% of tax payers will continue to pay 60%. Romney suggests "deduction cap" of 25K as an example of how he will close deductions. No taxes interest, capital gains for those under 250K.

UPDATE 9:11 Second question on energy and gas prices. Obama says potentially 600K jobs from natural gas. Obama says Romney plan does not address clean energy. Romney documents Obama's results, says production is down on federal land. What is the migratory bird act? Head of EPA says can't build a coal plant because of regulations - factcheck time Romney says energy independence within 8 years. Keystone Pipeline  Crowley is this the new normal i.e. high gas prices. Obama says directly to Romney, "you look at a coal plant and shut it down. You said coal kills" Romney and Obama are talking to each other, they are fighting. Romney trying to take his time back. Romney says , "you'll get your chance I'm still speaking". Snarky. Crowley asks about how Obama policy impacted gas prices. Obama blames Bush. Obama creates murmur, "Romney can bring down gas prices, by reverting to policies that got us into this mess" Romney insists on responding. Crowley trying to move it along.

UPDATE 9:08 Crowley follow up question on long term unemployed. Romney takres ownership of 7.8% and says long term unemployment is 10.7%. Romney says Obama followed HIS plan for letting Detroit go bankrupt. Obama says Romney is lying. Obama attacks Romney's "5 point plan" says it is 1 point plan no different than prior plan. Crowley refuse to allow Romney to redirect.

UPDATE 9:05 First question from 20 year old millenial - I need a job. Romney describes his MA scholarship program. Romney gives story about (first contact) Student (Jeremy) graduates 2014. Romney hopes to be President then. Obama says "future is bright". Says Romney wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt. Obama 3 point plan, includes energy independence.

UPDATE 9:03 Last minute debate change

UPDATE 8:53 Rules of the debate

There will be no opening or closing statements. Candidates can move around on stage. After the audience member asks a question, his or her microphone will be immediately shut off. The candidate will have two minutes to answer. The other candidate is then given two minutes to respond. Then the moderator will be able to pose a follow-up question of her choosing, with each candidate allowed one minute to respond.


Yahoo News gives us 5 things to look for in this debate

1)      A More Aggressive Obama – Obama was passive and listless in the last debate

2)      Romney Striving for Empathy – Romney needs to connect to the audience.

3)      Body Language – Television is a visual medium and as we saw last debate Romney seemed fired up while Obama seemed to be disinterested. We saw how much was made of Biden’s smiling, laughing, gruffness and interruptions.

4)      Meddling Moderator. Jim Lehrer was run over by Romney, yet his lack of control resulted in extended discussion which allowed Romney and Obama to speak at length without interruption. Raddatz was aggressive and inserted herself into the discussion pressing Ryan for answers on questions he appeared to be evading. No surprise that conservatives liked the result of the Romney/Lehrer combination and were unhappy about the Biden/Raddatz debate. Crowley has promised to inject herself as she sees fit to facilitate the discussion which has drawn fire from both campaigns.

5)      Wild-Card Questions – human interest, non –scripted, spontaneity are all aspects at play in a town hall discussion, but don’t expect any off-the-cuff questions from this audience, The questions are being screened by Crowley.

UPDATE 8:00 What Obama supporters want to know tonight is will Obama fight for his job as hard as everyone else is fighting!!

UPDATE 7:40 The Obama Legacy

UPDATE 7:30 WaPo Ezra Kelin doesn't believe we should have an audience of low-information and/or undecided voters

Fox News' Doocy takes early shot at "mainstream" media

MSNBC's Toure on the GOP

UPDATE 6:50  Obama supporters help to put out the Romney fire that is burning up Obama's lead amongst women voters.

UPDATE 6:30 Bush 43 was one of the worst President's in history, but he did continue the legacy of Republican President's fighting for civil rights.

UPDATE 6:30 Sesame Street Fallout

UPDATE 6:15 Never let an opportunity go to "waste"

UPDATE 5:34 One month ago, PolicyMic Pundit John Giorkaris wrote of Obama’s waning approval rating amongst women. Now a USA Today- Gallup poll of likely female voters in 12 swing states has Romney leading 49% to Obama’s 48%. ABC News said, “Those figures echo the results of a Pew poll, published last week, that found Obama had fumbled an 18 point lead, leaving him dead even with Romney at 47 percent.”

UPDATE 5:07 This section dedicated to Gary Johnson

UPDATE 4:10 Mitt Romney Style (Gangnam Style)


Everyone is interested in what questions will come from the 80 handpicked participants at the debate. The expected, obvious topics will be the Libyan Benghazi embassy incident, the Afghanistan withdrawal, Iran and Syria. On the economy, the debt, deficit and the unemployment rate. And of course Medicare and Social Security. Topics unlikely to be covered include immigration reform, affirmative action, the war on drugs, gun and climate control. 

NBC News and NPR are two organizations that have suggested some important questions that will not be asked at the debate.

On bi-partisanship

“If you are unsuccessful in winning the election, would you consider taking a position in your opponent's administration with an eye towards helping to foster bipartisanship? If so, what ideas of your opponent would you be most enthusiastic about supporting?”

Social Security

“If Social Security is in trouble and needs to be saved, why don't they just remove the cap (on taxable earnings) and everyone pays into it no matter how much money they make. This is a tax on the middle class with a cap of $106,000.”

On the cost of living:

“To both candidates, what is the average price for a gallon of milk today?”

On Energy

Is it beyond the power of a president to do anything about gasoline prices, or do you have a plan that is different from all of those past presidents? What is your plan to address climate control?

On Jobs:

 “How do they plan to deal with the rampant age discrimination that is going on for workers in their 40s and 50s who were displaced by the economic downturn of the past four years?” Is there anything a president can do to help get U.S. wages moving up again?

On the 2008 – 2009 Financial meltdown

 “How was the repaid TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money used and how should it have been used? Did it pay down debt or go into a slush fund?”

On Immigration Reform

Do you support the Dream Act? Do you support Guest Worker Programs? Are you prepared to increase the number of H1B visas?

On Gun Control

Do you support a ban on the sale of assault weapons? Do you believe we needed tighter gun control laws?

On the War on Drugs

Do you support the decriminalization of marijuana?

UPDATE 1:22 Obama releases his new stump speech. No more Mister "Nice-Guy" , he tells the world about Romney and the Republicans represent that stuff , "I Don't Like".

UPDATE 10:15 It has been a troubling 4 years for Obama. Benghazi, Afghanistan, the deficit, the debt crisis, unemployment, Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Syria, Iran, Medicare, Social Security. Obama is aware of  the state of the union and although there may be "99 Problems, Mitt ain't one"

UPDATE 9:45 During the VP debate, Biden made Ryan defend every contradiction, flip flop or untruth. Obama must use the same tacticc and make Romney defend his "malarkey". MSNBC's Alex Wagner captured 4 such contradictions from the first debate : 1) the 20% tax cut 2) Dodd-Frank 3) hiring more teachers 4) health care

UPDATE 8:45 Romney wants to join the President's Club, the most exclusive clunb in the world. He wants to be "Part of Your World"

UPDATE 5:10 Republicans were not pleased with Martha Raddatz and they are not pleased with the selection of Candy Crowley. The CPD has asked the Republicans to submit their choice for a moderator. After consulting Clint Eastwood the Republicans have made their choice.

UPDATE 4:45 What a difference a debate makes.

UPDATE 3:10 The case for Mitt Romney told in slides:




Watch the slides come to life

UPDATE 2:30 Early in the campaign, Romney seemed uncomfortable talking about his wealth. Not so much anymore. Romeny wants you to know 'I'm Wealthy and I know it".

UPDATE 2:10   Obama ran on a pledge of "Hope and Change." Here the updated verison for 2012, "Hope and Change (Gangnam Style)

UPDATE 1:45 In the first debate Romney was the aggressor and Obama was passive. Romney was hot and Obama was cold, let's recap the first debate between Obama and Romney.

UPDATE 1:30 Despite his job approval rating, the polls still show that Americans like the President and here te Presient explains why.

UPDATE 1:00   Obama was roundly criticized by Republicans for his statement "You didn't build that" The RNC capitalized and made political hay out of the out-of-context remark. The theme of this year's convention, "We Built It" was  direct reponse to the President's words. Not to be outdone the Obama campaign has responded with the campaign video "U Didn't Build That"

UPDATE 12:30 After the first debate, many felt that Romney showed once again that he is at best a poltical chameleon effortlessly moving from moderate to "severe" conservative depending on his audience. Romney known as the etch-a-sketch candidate for his litany of flip flops has been elusive in explaining his plans. Bill Clinton was the first to say, "Moderate Mitt, where you been"

 This Tuesday, America will ask "Will the Real Mitt Romney, Please Stand Up"

UPDATE 12:15 Key and Peele - Obama and His Anger Translator

Obama and His Anger Translator Review the First Debate

Comedy Central

Obama on the 47%

UPDATE 11:00 Candy Crowley is an award-winning correspondent. She is known for having a no-nonsense style and for being a straight shooter. Ms Crowley has won several awards including an Emmy award for her work on CNN Presents Enemy Within. She was also part of the team that was awarded a Peabody award in 2008 and an Emmy in 2006. Amongst the Washington reporter fraternity, Crowley is known as the "Cliff Notes for Reporters" because of a penchant for reading enitre legislative bills and being the go to source for her Washington peers. Need to know more about debate moderator Candy Crowley, then read a full bio here.

UPDATE 10:44 The latest Real Clear Politics poll has Romney and Obama in a virtual tie. Real Clear Politics electoral vote projects 12 battleground states representing 146 electoral votes. The Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll has Romney leading 49% to Obama's 48%. Rasmussen’s 2012 Electoral College Scoreboard has 11 battleground states up for grabs representing 120 electoral votes. Amongst registered voters Gallup has Obama leading 48% to Romney’s 46%, while amongst likely voters Romney is leading 49% to Obama’s 47%.


A recent Gallup poll says Obama may be the most polarizing President in recent memory. Only 8% of Republicans approve of Obama, while 90% of Democrats approve of Obama. The polarization gap is larger than the gap that Bush 43 had going into his second term. Obama’s approval rating amongst Republicans represents the lowest approval rating from the opposition of any President since Gallup began keeping track.  Bush 43 and Obama have combined to create the most polarized electorate in modern American history.

UDATE 6:30PM At a joint press conference Big Bird endorses Obama and sends a stern message to Romney

UPDATE 6:00PM If the training doesn't work, if preparation fails, if Romney looks like he is pulling away, the Commander-in-Chief has one last option, "say hello to my little friend"

UPDATE 6:00PM  Obama has been locked away training for this debate. He looks "ripped" and ready to go


He has traveled to the coldest regions of the world in preparation for this battle.

He has deployed some traditional training.