The debate hangover: who’s hurting more?

In a photo combo, President Barack Obama, left, and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney address the audience during the second presidential debate at...
In a photo combo, President Barack Obama, left, and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney address the audience during the second presidential debate at...
AP Photo/Pool-Shannon Stapleton

As people expected, the second presidential debate was destined to be different. It was a different format, a town hall compared a traditional debate.  This time a female moderator was in charge.  And a group of undecided voters asked the candidates questions.

However, what Obama’s supporters hoped for, but no one could guarantee, was a president full of chutzpah to stand up to Romney and defend himself against accusations about actions he has taken over the last 4 years. As President Obama entered the stage on Tuesday evening at Hofstra University, it was clear this was going to be a very different debate. The President was ready to fight.

Both candidates came out swinging. It felt at times, like they were sucker punching one another, ready to pounce on each other’s words.  At one point, Romney said to President Obama, “You will get your chance in a moment I am still speaking.” Romney did have his moments. When asked about the economy, he blamed the president for the economy’s failure in generating jobs over the last four years. But, President Obama did not take the hits lying down. In a strategic move at the end of the debate, the president referenced Romney’s 47% comment , not giving Romney a chance to rebut.

One moment of the debate where the GOP probably wishes they could do over is when Romney challenged what President Obama said the day after the Libya attacks. Candy Crowley live fact-checked him during the debate.  Governor Romney was trying to undermine President Obama but his tactics ended up backfiring on him and resulted in what many believe lost him the debate.

A CBS snap poll of uncommitted voters concluded that President Obama won the debate 37% to 30%. About 33% believed it was a tie. In a similar poll taken immediately following the Denver debate, uncommitted voters agreed 2-to-1 that Romney won that debate. Furthermore, President Obama made some headway on the economic argument during Tuesday’s debate. In the same poll when these voters were asked who would do a better job of handling the economy, President Obama’s polling numbers went up from 27% to 34%, while 65% of those polled still believe that Romney would do a better job.

CNN also conducted its own snap poll following Tuesday’s debate and came away with a similar conclusion: the president was a clear winner. According to their result, 46% believe that President Obama won the Hofstra Town Hall while only 39% believe that Romney came away with the win.   However, Romney had a 49%-46% edge when voters were asked which candidate is the stronger leader.

This debate covered several areas of domestic and foreign policy and it was clear we saw a much more engaged and energized president as he forced an aggressive challenger, Mitt Romney, to come out and play.

So who do you think was the winner?  What topics did the candidates avoid?

Our Cyclists will be weighing in with full post-debate coverage today at 3 p.m. ET but be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

The debate hangover: who's hurting more?