Obama Strikes Back
On Tuesday night, at the town hall-style debate at Hofstra University, a fierce and passionate Obama put a dent in that presentation. He challenged Romney repeatedly: On Romney’s tax plan (whatever it may be). On Romney’s crass effort to politicize the attack on US diplomats in Libya. On Romney’s past investments in firms outsourcing in China. In one early exchange, Obama rolled Romney’s opposition to the auto-bailout, his record at Bain Capital, and his proposed tax cuts for the wealthy into one answer—merging Romney’s various liabilities into a single, integrated assault. Four times Obama said to Romney, “That’s not true.” In one critical exchange, moderator Candy Crowley felt compelled to back up the president, when Obama challenged Romney’s assertion that it took him a fortnight to declare the Benghazi attack an act of terrorism. The president had labeled it as such the day afterward.
That was a low moment for Romney. Obama forcefully took on Romney’s charge that his administration had misled the nation about the Libya episode, declaring Romney’s claim “offensive.” The glare Obama aimed at Romney was devastating. The Republican presidential candidate seemed rattled and proceeded to deliver his usual national security schtick—Obama is weak, he apologizes for America, and his foreign policy is unraveling—in a tentative manner. In this back-and-forth, the only one concerning foreign policy, Obama came across as resolute. Romney at that moment seemed desperate.