In these polarized times, not everyone agreed but by any reasonable metric President Obama clearly trounced Mitt Romney in their second debate last Tuesday. Mitt tried to pull the same tricks he used in the first debate but they didn’t work this time.
Candy Crowley is no milquetoast like poor old Jim Lehrer. Ms. Crowley did an excellent job on keeping both candidates largely within their allowed time frames. She didn’t allow Mr. Romney to bully her and she firmly guided both of them back on topic when they strayed too far from the gist of the questions.
Mitt Romney betrayed his irritation at not being allowed to get his own way. He showed himself to be petulant, condescending, extraordinarily disrespectful and arrogantly self-entitled. This was perhaps most evident when he was running over his own time in attempting to change the subject from his many and mysterious offshore tax havens and investments. He had the gall to say to our president in the most insulting tone of voice possible: “You’ll get your chance in a moment. I’m still speaking.”
To begin with, it was not Mr. Romney’s place to tell the president when he could speak. That’s the moderator’s decision to make. But to put it in a larger context, imagine if Mr. Romney treated another world leader with that kind of disrespect during an international crisis that requires the co-operation of all parties to solve. We would likely have half the world ready to drop bombs on the United States.
Meanwhile, President Obama was cool-headed and polite, even as he challenged Mr. Romney’s many false attacks on him and focused on putting forward his own vision for the future as much as was possible under the circumstances. These are the traits we need in a president, especially in these volatile times.
We need a leader who is calm, focused on a long range plan and measured in his approach to getting us there. We need a even-tempered leader who doesn’t fly into fits of anger during the first sign of disagreement but instead coolly negotiates to find consensus. This debate clearly illustrated that President Obama is that kind of leader and Mr. Romney most certainly is not.
[Getty image via TPM]