Let Me Start: Role reversal

Updated
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during the debate as moderator Bob Schieffer listens at Lynn University, Oct. 22, in Boca Raton, Fla.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during the debate as moderator Bob Schieffer listens at Lynn University, Oct. 22, in Boca Raton, Fla.
Marc Serota/Getty Images

President Obama and Mitt Romney made a wholesale swap at last night’s foreign policy debate, with a passive Romney playing it safe and an aggressive Obama frequently on the attack.

The flash polls declared the president the winner – and the CBS poll called it by a wide margin. And while Romney contradicted himself and at times sounded incoherent, he didn’t make any major flubs, he managed to not sound like too much of a hawk, and his supporters say he passed the (rather low) commander-in-chief test. With two weeks before Election Day, will last night move the needle either way? Nate Silver writes that even a small bump could matter in a big way.

But Was it Enough?

Joe Scarborough argues that President Obama may have won last night, but it wasn’t enough to undo the damage of the first debate, and he awards ‘debate season’ to Romney.

Micro-targeting

One of the biggest points of contention was not on foreign policy but on the auto rescue, with both candidates speaking directly to voters in Ohio. Obama said Romney wanted the automakers to go into bankruptcy without government help. Romney said the president was wrong. But a check of the November 18th, 2008 op-ed Romney wrote for The New York Times shows Romney was calling for government guarantees and warranty help after the automakers emerged from bankruptcy. Obama’s point all along has been that there was no one other than the government to step in and keep the automakers afloat through the entire bankruptcy process – private equity had dried up in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

So now it comes down the final two weeks, and which candidate can win the sprint in the seven remaining battleground states. Which candidate will energize his base, and which will convince the undecideds to get behind him. And in a race this close, it could all come down to the ground game on Election Day.
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Hardball - Let Me Start

Let Me Start: Role reversal

Updated