Content Section

The Comeback Kid

Sit down, Mitt—the president just passed you by. Robert Shrum breaks down Romney’s mistakes, Obama’s success—and why Republicans are already trying to turn the public against Candy Crowley.
Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

Wow.You didn’t need a poll to tell you what happened, but the instant surveys exploded in a geyser of good news for President Obama. For example, in Colorado, in a Public Policy Polling sample that was 3 percent more Republican, respondents rated the President the winner 48 to 44 percent-- and crucially, independents thought he prevailed 58 to 36 percent.

Word Clouds From the 2nd Presidential Debate

Shortly after Obama and Romney left the stage of Tuesday night’s contest, we gave our readers a chance to give their one-word reactions. Here are the results, in word cloud form.

After an exciting debate Tuesday night, our readers shared their thoughts. As with the past two debates— the first presidential and the vice presidential battles— we asked our readers on Facebook to give their one-word takes on the performances of the two candidates.

Wait! Libya Actually Helped Mitt

A complicated three-way tangle drew in Candy Crowley for an utterly outrageous effort to tag-team the governor. But Romney shouldn’t worry, writes Michael Medved, it just made him look better.
Mike Segar, Reuters / Landov

Forget about Barack Obama’s eagerly awaited emergence from his first debate coma: the biggest question about the second candidate confrontation centered on whether Mitt managed to maintain his undeniable momentum.After all, a flurry of pre-debate polls showed Romney as the newly minted frontrunner—especially a Gallup survey that gave him a commanding 50-46 percent lead among likely voters in all twelve swing states, including such purportedly impregnable Democratic bastions as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and (surprise!) New Mexico.

Candy’s Fact-Check

Democrats loved her. Republicans assailed her ‘agenda.’ The morning after Candy Crowley injected herself forcefully into the debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, she talks to Lauren Ashburn about the big night.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

With five words, Candy Crowley placed herself at the center of Tuesday’s presidential debate—underscoring her determination to restrain the candidates.It was no surprise to anyone who has followed the CNN anchor’s blunt-spoken style that she would try to set the record straight.

Obama Wins, the Middle Class Loses


The president had a good outing Tuesday night in Hempstead, Long Island; Mitt Romney, not so much.But my takeaway from the evening pertains this time more to substance than to style. It's really remarkable to me, and disturbing, how little either candidate had to offer on the great economic challenges faced by middle-class Americans.

Obama Dominates

Game, set, and match to Obama. He got it; he fought back; he gave us all more than ample reason to carry on the fight. Read Andrew Sullivan’s live blog of the debate.
Mary Altaffer / AP Photo

To my mind, Obama dominated Romney tonight in every single way: in substance, manner, style, and personal appeal. He came back like a lethal, but restrained predator. He was able to defend his own record, think swiftly on his feet, and his Benghazi answer was superb.

Mitt’s ‘Binders Full of Women’ Slip

Mitt Romney claimed during the debate that he requested ‘binders full of women’ as governor of Massachusetts. The comment went viral. Marlow Stern says the remark is further evidence of how out-of-touch the GOP candidate is with women.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

The second presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, a town-hall affair at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., was a bizarre orgy of testosterone, lies, and silly anecdotes, with moderator Candy Crowley of CNN presiding over the melee like Michael Vick at a dogfight.

Troops MIA at Presidential Debate

Despite the many efforts Obama has made to appeal to younger soldiers and veterans, Romney has maintained a vast lead among military voters—and the troops hardly rated a mention at Tuesday’s debate. Marjorie Morrison on the opportunity we're missing.
Mark Ries / Getty Images

Two presidential debates and no real mention of our troops, despite the ongoing war in Afghanistan.Here’s why: 68 percent of Americans think the war in Afghanistan is going somewhat or very badly, and the same percentage thinks we should withdraw entirely or start drawing down troops now.

The Right’s Misguided Crowley Fury

The veteran CNN correspondent told Romney that Obama indeed had called the consulate attack an act of terror. She was right on the narrow question, but conservative bloggers and pundits have condemned her correction as liberal bias.
Michael Reynolds-Pool / Getty Images

In a debate that mostly favored Barack Obama, one of the president’s more surprising victories came in the segment on the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, which took the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith.

Obama Vs. Romney 2: Who Lied?

Romney was wrong when he said Obama doubled the deficit. The president misled when he said he cut taxes by $3,600. The Daily Beast turns to the Internet’s reliable fact-checkers to reveal the truth—or falsity—of the debaters’ claims.
Saul Loeb / AFP-Getty Images

The town-hall-style showdown between presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Barack Obama was facilitated by voters’ questions and filled with lies. From the three-way debate between the candidates and moderator Candy Crowley over the Obama administration’s handling of the U.

Anxious Moments for Obama Faithful

Beer eased the anxiety as Obama supporters packed bars in Park Slope, Brooklyn, to take advantage of debate ‘specials’ and watch and comment on the second face-off. They rooted for their man, but showed a wary respect for Romney—and concern about fickle independents.
Jewel Samad / AFP-Getty Images

What’s the best balm for weary Democratic nerves, anxious after a shaky first debate performance from President Obama two weeks ago? Why, beer of course, and so a string of bars on Fourth Avenue in south Park Slope, the bluest of neighborhoods in the bluest of cities in the bluest of states, offered drink specials and promised TVs devoted to tonight’s face-off between Obama and Mitt Romney.

Obama Is Back!

Stan Honda / Getty Images

Well, Fox was calling it a draw, and its anchors started blaming Candy Crowley for how it all went down 32 seconds after it ended. Need to know anything else?Obama won the debate. Won it big. Maybe not as big as Romney won the first one, but big enough to be clear.

The GOP’s Delusional Night

The left freaked out after Denver. Tonight, the right pretended Romney won. Michelle Goldberg on the Republican disconnect—and the demonization of an undecided voter.
Stan Honda / Getty Images

Here is a major difference between liberals and conservatives. After President Obama’s abysmal performance in the first debate, liberals were rending their garments and proclaiming everything lost. After Mitt Romney’s equally bad performance on Tuesday night, many conservatives were either declaring him the winner or blaming his loss on Candy Crowley.

Team Obama ‘Ecstatic’

The president’s camp expected only a modest bounce from his debate performance. But given the lousy showing in Denver, they were thrilled by his show of strength. James Warren reports.
Mandel Ngan / Getty Images

As President Obama’s top aides watched the second debate on television backstage, there were multiple moments of outright jubilation. It was as if their sighs of relief in Hempstead, N.Y. could be heard in the Hamptons."Folks were just ecstatic,” said one person familiar with the scene.

Romney’s Race to Lose?

The president won the debate, but the GOP nominee continued with his strategy from the first face-off—changing the storyline to present himself as centrist, compassionate, and hopeful. That could make this Romney’s campaign to lose.
Mary Altaffer / AP Photo

The big question about the second debate of the presidential campaign—and perhaps the entire presidential campaign itself—is this: is this now a contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney or Mitt Romney and himself?If it’s the former, Obama won tonight.

‘Attacking Me Is Not An Agenda’

Throughout his campaign, Mitt Romney has attacked President Obama for, well, attacking him—and he doubled down on this approach Monday night: 'Attacking me is not an agenda,' Romney scolded.

  1. Giddyup! Obama's Big Bayonet Slam Play

    Giddyup! Obama's Big Bayonet Slam

  2. ‘The 1980s Called…’ Play

    ‘The 1980s Called…’

  3. ‘We Can’t Kill Our Way Out’ Play

    ‘We Can’t Kill Our Way Out’

Must-See Moments

Foreign Policy Showdown

Best Moments From the Final Presidential Debate

Best Moments From the Final Presidential Debate

Obama and Romney duked it out on foreign policy Monday night. Watch the most memorable moments.


Ground Game

Obama Opens Up Big Lead

Obama Opens Up Big Lead

As of mid-October, the Obama campaign has 755 offices nationwide for its get-out-the-vote effort—nearly three times as many as the Romney campaign. PLUS: John Avlon and Michael Keller break down what the office edge could mean on election day.


Election Ad Tracker

View, rate, and fact check the latest campaign ads.

Watch This

History Lesson

7 Debate Wins and Fails

7 Debate Wins and Fails

Dukakis and the rape question. Reagan and his age joke. See the highest and lowest moments of debates past.


Debate Memes

The Best Horses & Bayonets Photos

The Best Horses & Bayonets Photos

Big Bird, Binders Full of Women, and, now, Horses and Bayonets. The funniest meme photos from the latest debate catchphrase.

Watch This!

Art Imitates Life

10 Greatest Fictional Debates

10 Greatest Fictional Debates

Ahead of Tuesday’s presidential debate, a look at the more entertaining showdowns from film and TV.


Full Debate Coverage

Why You Can’t Debate Creationists

Why You Can’t Debate Creationists

Advocates of the pseudo-scientific, secularized version of creationism love debates, because they give the appearance of two equal sides. Here’s what it’s like to participate in one.


GOP Can Win the Equal Pay Debate

Dirty Divas

The Pornification of Pop

The Cut

Docs, Stop Forcing Circumcision


Women As Peacemakers