Analysis

Mitt Romney vs. President Obama: Who won the second debate?

The incumbent put in a far more energetic performance than he did the first time, but the GOP candidate didn't back down

On the heels of a sluggish performance at the first debate, President Obama was under great pressure to deliver in his second tete-a-tete with Mitt Romney at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. And the incumbent didn't disappoint, appearing far more lively and aggressive than he did in the first go-round. Obama attacked the lack of specifics in Romney's tax plan, accused him of politicizing the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, and closed the night with an allusion to Romney's controversial remarks about the "47 percent." In one particularly damaging moment, moderator Candy Crowley fact-checked Romney in the middle of the debate, causing the audience to erupt in applause. (Watch a video below.) However, the GOP candidate arguably gave as good as he got, and hammered Obama over the dismal state of the economy. So who won?

Obama: "Obama dominated Romney tonight in every single way: in substance, manner, style, and personal appeal," says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. "He came back like a lethal, but restrained, predator." Many other commentators agreed:

The Washington Post's Ezra Klein:

Mother Jones' Adam Serwer:

Romney: Romney wasn't short on ammunition, attacking Obama for his allegedly poor economic stewardship. Many conservatives said that Romney had the upper hand, and that he was undercut by Crowley inappropriately interfering in the debate:

Red State's Erick Erickson:

The Washington Post's Marc Thiessen:

Even some liberals praised Romney:

But it may not change the race: Even if Obama won, it remains unclear whether the second debate will shake up the race, which has seen Romney climbing in the polls.

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