Debate No. 2 between President Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, was far different than their first face-to-face encounter on Oct. 3.

Many felt the president came out on top.

This townhall-style telecast featured about 100 undecided voters–including one African American man who voted for Obama in 2008, but was questioning whether he should do it again. They asked a series of pointed questions that dug in on some key issues that many Americans wanted answered.

As usual, there were questions that neither candidate answered directly such as “was it the government’s job to bring gas prices down?” Instead, they used the query as a platform to talk about their own approach, policy or belief.

Overall, this second meeting was a much more lively exchange than the first, with President Obama doing a much better job of laying out his accomplishments during his first four years in office.

“He was magnificent,” enthused OW political columnist David Horne. “He clearly understood what was at stake and he adjusted to the format,” explained the California State University, Dominguez Hills, professor, adding that in the first debate Obama did not go prepared to aggressively combat the continuous stream of mistruths that Romney presented.
But Tuesday he was prepared.

“He must have used the phrase ‘this is not true 10 different times,’” Horne said, adding that “in a debate you’re supposed to articulate your position and destroy your opponent’s position.”

Candidate Romney also spent a lot of time saying he had a plan that would bring jobs back and help unsqueeze the middle class, but very little time laying out what that plan actually was.

The one exception was the tax code, which he said he wanted to reduce for everyone and pay for by eliminating some of the deductions that middle-class America actually does rely on and use to reduce their tax burden–mortgage interest deductions.

Essentially, each candidate walked away from the debate with nothing to beat themselves up about.

When the two men meet again on Monday at 6-7:30 p.m. in Boca Raton, Fla., Horne thinks the president should remind the American public that they hired him to stop the decline, which he has done.

The president also needs to remind them about the American Jobs Act, and urge them to contact their congressional representatives to get it passed.

“He also needs to get that 23 million number off the table,” said Horne. “We don’t have 23 million unemployed.”

Monday’s debate will focus on foreign policy, something that was touched upon briefly on Tuesday evening.

“Obama needs to make sure he explains to the American people what he is going to do in the next four years. . . . He can’t leave anything to chance; he can’t leave anything to assumption.”
Horne said Obama also needs to call Romney on the pledge he made to Grover Norquist not to raise taxes.

“Who is Grover Norquist. He has never run for office and doesn’t represent the American people,” he said.