Recapping the Second Presidential Debate

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Banners hang at Long Island's Hofstra University, the site of the second debate between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
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Two weeks ago, conservatives and liberals alike declared Governor Romney the winner of the last presidential debate, as pundits claimed he portrayed strength and confidence in the face of a timid and unfocused President Obama.

But did he fare as well this time around? Or did President Obama bounce back?

Josh Treviño is conservative pundit and speechwriter for former President George W. Bush. He recaps the debate in his home state of Texas.

"It was such an unpleasant watch, watching the two of them sort of try to out-alpha one another," Treviño says. "I think you have to score it basically a draw." 

Though most of the reactions last night seemed to declare Obama the winner of this debate, Treviño thinks it is more important to see how the effect of the debate plays out in the polls over the coming weeks. "If this turns out to give the president momentum," he says, "that's going to be much more meaningful than any night-of reaction." 

Treviño's favorite question of the night came from an undecided voter who hated George W. Bush, and wanted to know what differentiated Romney from the former president.  

"Romney actually missed an opportunity there," Treviño says. "Which was to give the answer: I'm different from George W. Bush in many ways, but I'm like him in one key respect, in that, under me, unemployment will be back down to around 5 percent."

With regards to Romney's specific tax plans, we heard a new number last night: "$25,000 of deductions, in credits." Treviño says that this matters little in the scheme of the campaign, because most voters do not remember numbers the next day. 

"Mitt Romney could have thrown out a million dollars, he could have thrown out 25 dollars," he says. "The net effect on the next day and on the campaign would have been the same."