Showdown looms in Boca
Paula DockeryWith two of the three presidential debates behind us, the score is tied with Gov. Mitt Romney handily winning the first and President Barack Obama rebounding strongly in the second matchup Tuesday night.
Published: October 21, 2012
Published: October 21, 2012
This raises the stakes for the final contest only days away at Lynn University in Boca Raton. All eyes again will be on Florida and interestingly, in the same city where Romney made his infamous "47 percent comment" at a fundraising event.
In the first debate in Denver, Romney strode onto stage with confidence and a sense of purpose. Obama didn't show up.
Physically he was there but his supporters were rightfully dismayed and deflated by his lackadaisical performance.
Romney scored on style, performance and likeability. That was particularly troubling for the Obama campaign, which was winning the likeability battle and effectively portraying Romney as out of touch and not "one of us."
Obama missed many opportunities to set the record straight when it mattered and has paid the price for failing to do so. After the first debate, polls shifted to Romney.
Tuesday's debate offered Obama the chance to redeem himself and reinvigorate his supporters and he didn't disappoint. The main difference? He came prepared to fight, to call out inaccuracies and to tout his successes.
Romney held his own and provided a solid performance, but he was flustered at times by an aggressive opponent who brought his B+ game.
Interestingly, Obama showed little aggression in the first debate and apparently felt the need to "man up" Tuesday. For his supporters, his assertiveness was a welcomed change.
The questioners allowed both candidates to bring up the points they wanted to highlight. The questions on immigration, women in the workplace and how Romney differs from George W. Bush helped Obama; the economy, the disenchanted Obama voter and Libya should have benefited Romney.
While not a knockout, some damage was done. Romney's response on Libya backfired and his line about "binders of women" has taken on a life of its own on social media as well as the mainstream media.
Obama's final response to a question enabled him to cite Romney's "47 percent" remark without giving Romney a chance to rebut it.
Time, and the polls, will show if this performance will stop Romney's momentum, slow it down or reverse it.
With the score now tied, the final presidential debate on foreign policy looms large and, of course, Florida will be the stage.
I suspect both men will bring their A games.
Paula Dockery is a term-limited Republican senator from Lakeland who is chronicling her final year in the Florida Senate. She can be reached at email@example.com.