Who Won The Debate Tonight: LIVE COVERAGE of Obama Romney Town Hall Debate


On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney meet for the second of three presidential debates at Hofstra University. It has been less than two weeks since their first meeting at the University of Denver where Mitt Romney scored a decisive victory over the embattled incumbent. Last Thursday at Centre College in Kentucky, Vice President Joe Biden attempted to rattle Congressman Paul Ryan with numerous interruptions and chuckles. Biden's impact will likely be minimal, especially when one considers the criticism his cackling performance received. That leaves it up to Obama.

The smart money says that President Obama will come roaring out of the gate, looking to settle the score. After his campaign has hinted that he will attack Romney's record at his former investment firm Bain Capital, it's safe to assume that nothing will be off the table, especially in a town hall style debate.

If Mitt Romney can repeat his performance from the first debate tonight at the Hofstra University debate, the odds of him remaining in the lead are good. Either way, this fight will most likely be much more combative than the last one. 

This debate will be a mixture of foreign and domestic policy questions. Romney will have a golden opportunity in front of him. From the attack on the Libyan consulate and the Arab Spring to Obamacare, taxes and the stubbornly high unempoloyment rate, it could be like shooting fish in a barrel. If on the other hand, President Obama is able to fend him off and play to the crowd, he could successful put a stop the bleeding that his campaign has been experiencing for the past 12 days. 


October 16, 2012

Topic: Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy


The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have 2 minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

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

3:56 pm - We've landed at Hofstra University and are in the spin room! T-minus 5 hours until the debate commences!!

4:21 pm - People are buzzing around as we are now four and a half hours until the debate kicks off!!

4:55 pm - Dean Chambers from UnSkewedpolls.com is now reporting that by his calculations, Mitt Romney will win the election by 52%, and 342 electoral votes. We shall see if that stays the same after tonight's debate at Hofstra.

5:24 pm - Just leared that there are going to be some pretty big advisors and surrogates from both campaigns! Romney is being represented her tonight by Rob Portman, Bay Buchannan, Ed Gillespe, Andrea Saul, John Sununu and many others! Obama will be flanked by Dick Durbin, John Kerry, David Axelrod and and Stephanie Cutter, to name a few...

5:56 pm Just had an interview with the amazing Conservative Sirius XM Host David Webb. Here is an excerpt! 


JM: "Do you think Obama's going to come out swinging tonight to try and undo some of the damage?" 

DW: "I think he's going to try, and I think we may see a little bit more of the 2008 Obama, with the lofty goals and the good sounding argument, but Romney's gotta challenge him on the facts and the success, and if he talks about the failures of past administrations, we've had three and a half years! Those have to be included in the picture, so that's going to be a challenge for the president because of his failed policies."

6:22 pm - Almost at the two and a half hour mark. The room is becomming more and more packed. Just watched as Governor Bob McDonnell gave an interview.

7:09 pm - And here is a brief except from my interview with Congressman Peter King!

Jesse Merkel: Do you think he (Romney) should bring up Secretary Hillary Clinton apparently taking the fall for Libya?

Rep. Peter King: Yeah, that's all part of the debate on Libya. I give her credit for doing it. I wish the President had the same sense of honor and responsibility that Hillary Clinton has.


A quick reminder! I will be publishing a complete recap of all interviews later on in the week, as well as commentary for how their expectations measured up with the debate!

7:35 pm - My fellow PolicyMic'ers and I just got to ask a question to former Democratic Chairman Howard Dean, and Current RNC Chairman Reince Priebus!

8:00 pm - Got to ask a question to former NY Governor George Pataki! Again, stay tuned for a full transcript of all of these interviews!!!

Jesse Merkel: What do you feel is the biggest issue facing voters who are 30 and under?

Gov. George Pataki: Maybe not consciously, but the deficit. It's always been about one generation sacrificing so that next one could have a better life. For the first time in my lifetime, this government is stealing from future generations to live beyond its means today.

8:01 pm - T-Minus ONE HOUR!!!!

8:40 pm - The Commission bigwigs are giving the warm up conference to the audience.

Here is my question to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus!!

8:55 pm - They just interviewed Candy Crowley. T-minus five minutes!!!

9:02 pm - They've both just entered. Much shorter handshake this time around.

9:03 pm - Romney gets the first question, gives his appreciation and cuts to work. Thanks the President and the Moderator, Candy Crowley. The question was about how can a college kid be guaranteed employment. Romney talks about making it easier for kids to afford college. He starts by references his time as MA governor. He was very successful there, especially in terms of education. Talks about getting more jobs into the market and less debt. 

Mentions the Joe Biden line - "The Middle Class has been crushed over the last four years."

9:06 pm - As expected, Obama comes right out of the gate. Hits Romney for wanting to let detroit going bankrupt. He's trying to sound like he's 'soaring,' like he did in 2008. More energy this time, sounds a little forced. 

9:09 pm - Romney plugs the 5 point plan and then defends his decision to let Detroit go bankrupt. Tells Obama "You actually did."

9:11 pm - Obama gets in his first mention of the 'past administration,' i.e. blame Bush. Obama gets asked about Energy Secretary Stephen Chu's three statements saying it's not the administration's job to bring down gas prices. Obama avoids the question, panders to greenies. 

9:13 pm - Obama is not answering the question. He doesn't want to say that the expanded drilling is due to Clinton and Bush-era permits. 

9:15 pm - Romney returns fire, answering the question. Talks about how Oil drilling is on private land, not federal. Talks about being in Coal country. Hits the EPA for wanting to clamp down on Coal. Romney mentions Obama's comment saying that if you build a coal plant, you'll go bankrupt!

 9:17 pm - Obama mentions Bush again. Take a shot!

9:18 pm - Romney and Obama get combative. This is becoming a dogfight. Romney hits how production on gov't land is down 14%.  

9:20 pm - "You'll get your chance in a second Mr. President." Romney just had the entire press corps here in the back go "Oof!" and laugh!

9:23 pm - Romney gets Obama's goat a little bit. Not letting himself being bulled. Gets a question from the audience on taxes. Hits the Biden comment again. Talks about all of the tax rates that have come up over and over again. 

At any minute, this could become a headline match at Wrestlemania. Watch for Obama to grab a chair and Romney to grab a bag of Thumbtacks.

9:26 pm - Romney gets SPECIFIC! REJOICE! Talks about cutting capital gains and taxes on savings. Talks about no increases of taxes on the middle class. Obama is looking pissed.

9:29 pm - Obama harking back to the Bush and Clinton administrations at the same time. Does he ever look at where he is?

9:30 pm - Romney: "The top 5% will still pay 60%." Goes into detail about bringing Rates down. 

Plugs the 5 point plan again, hits all five points. Great concise answer. Unlike Obama, he's not looking to be attacking. His attacks are part of his answers. Obama looks to be going out of his way. 

9:33 pm - Obama just brought up big bird, after bringing up Romney's personal taxes. He just got person and made this a fight. This was a sparring match, and now Obama just made it a brawl. 

9:36 pm - Romney corrects Obama by talking about closing loopholes. 

9:38 pm - A town hall questioner asks about women's inequality in the workplace. The entire press room here just chuckled, wondering how Romney will handle this. C'mon MITT!

9:40 pm - Romney hits back with personal experience on how he's learned about women in the workplace, not taking the bait to look like a cold callous man. 

9:43 pm - Obama brings up healthcare, says Romney wants Gov't to take over healthcare choices...Romney? Obama?  WHAT!?

9:47 pm - Voter asking Romney basically if he's going to go forward or backwards. Loaded question, is he Bush? Oh god...::head slap:: Romney takes time to answer previous question, then goes back to plugging his plan. He's comparing and casting himself as the serious GOP contrast to Bush, a new kind of Republican. Also hits Obama as being worse than Bush on spending. 

9:50 pm - Obama tries to tell Romney that he is soft on China. Calls him an outsources. Oh lord ::facepalm:: 

9:52 pm -  Obama puffing his chest out. Can't wait to hear Romney's answer on this one.  Obama is now 4 minutes ahead in speaking time, but it doesn't feel that way. Bad sign.

9:55 pm - "I think you know better." Great comeback line to Obama touting successes. Hits Obama for not making proposals on Immigration, Medicare, and Social Security. Plugs the 23 million Americans looking for work. Hits 47 million people on food stamps. Romney calls out Reagan recession and recovery. Talks about all of the people who have dropped out of the workforce.  "He's great as a speaker, but we have a record to look at." OUCH.

10:00 pm - First immigration policy question. Wants to stop illegal immigration. Talks about 4 million people waiting in line, cannot let illegals take their place. No more magnets, like drivers licenses. Talks about how Obama didn't do it with a democrat House and Senate for 2 years. 

10:06 pm - Obama hits Romney for not wanting the Dream Act. Hits Obama for not honoring his promise to go for immigration reform in his first year. Turns it around again. Obama tries to get a laugh in. I think people laughed here more in the press room than around the country. 

10:08 pm - Obama plays the class warfare card, alluding to Romney's wealth. #unclassyattack

10:10 pm - First Bengazi question comes in, town hall questioner comes up and asks who denied the requests for additional support to the consulates? Obama is not answering the question. He's puffing out his chest. 

10:11 pm - Romney's up. Appears more sensitive given the nature of the question. Says it was a terrorist attack, hits Obama for saying it wasn't. Says how it calls into question Obama's entire policy. Brings up Israel. 

10:15 pm - Obama hasn't answered the question as to who denied the extra coverage? Candy Crowley puts on a super hero cape and comes to Obama's rescue.

10:16 pm - Obama should send flowers to Candy Crowley for saving his A##.

10:19 pm - Obama just lost a bunch of swing state voters, states he wants to re-introduce the assault weapons ban. 

10:20 pm - Romney comes out and talks about changing the culture of violence. Talks about good schools, economy and parents. Obama's answer will piss off the far left, that hates guns. Makes him look like he's afraid of the NRA and gun lobbies. Romney hits Fast and Furious scandal. Good Job. This needed to be brought out. Mentions how it hurt people...

10:24 pm - Obama ignored Fast and Furious scandal. Why?

10:26 pm - Romney gets a question on outsourcing. Thank you, Merry Christmas! Romney mentions the trickle down government line again. Great line. So far this debate is 6-3 Romney. Talks about manufacturers. Brings in his business experiences. Talks about how people cannot just take from others. Taxes, Job culture. Has to make things better for business. 

10:42 pm - Obama closes with 47%, Romney doesn't get a chance to respond. #BS. Oh well, Romney answered it earlier in the night. Overall, I score it out of ten ponts - 6 to Romney, 4 to Obama. Time to hit the floor. Stay tuned!