Heather--Have you talked with the Delphi workers? They're very busy telling their story about what Barack Obama's bailout did to them and to their pensions and their futures. It's not a pretty picture.
Heather, Governor Romney left Bain in 1999.
Leadership is the issue here--who best showed they have it?
Obama only spoke 35 seconds longer than Romney this time.
At the end CNN's dial-meter had men neutral, women disapproving as Bob Schieffer closed out. Huh.
Nice to see both families spending time onstage talking tonight. We need more of that.
Assessment: President closes with the economic message that hasn't been connecting. Doesn't touch Romney on foreign policy and national security. Meanwhile, Romney's message on economy has been working in the campaign. His message at end about working with Democrats in Massachusetts strong and effective. He demonstrated broad knowledge of foreign policy and depth needed for handling foreign policy. That was his essential task of the evening. Net: Romney won.
Bottom line--this will not move the polls. Very nice to see that the two candidates are being cordial and interacting.
Obama landed some strong punches against Romney, and was especially effective when he talked about the decision to kill Osama bin Laden. Romney managed to clear the "I'm not the bozo I looked like on my foreign tour" bar. I doubt this moves many votes but as I said early on, any movement could be crucial this year.
There are no major take aways from this debate. The line of the night goes to Romney, who said America does not dictate to other nations--America frees other nations from dictators. The wonks will dissect this debate more than the other three because they feel they have the expertise to do it vs. the wisdom of the common American. The problem is that foreign policy is not high on the list of issues on which people are basing their votes in this election, for good or for bad. That means all the "thinking" and postulating by the smart set over what was said in this last debate may be a lot of wasted effort. And, by the way, it's official: Obama-Biden get more time to speak than Romney-Ryan in all four debates.
CNN's John King: Debate coaches would say president won this on points.
CNN's Gergen says on debate points Obama won but Romney passed the commander in chief test.
The president was much stronger on every foreign policy question. Romney spent the entire night basically agreeing, without pushing back. Obama dominated the middle part of the debate. Romney tacked back to the economy at the end to save his night. Romney did nothing to screw up. But Obama won.
I disagree with my colleagues and the media pundits who want to "draw" this one --Romney was the clear winner and the polling will confirm it.
Fox's Brit Hume says Mitt Romney's job was to come across as a credible commander- n chief and that he succeeded. That there were broad areas of agreement, says Hume, did not come across as a disadvantage for the former Massachusetts governor. Obama, who made his points well, was burdened "time and again" by the record.
CNN's Castellanos: Obama won on points but Romney won on politics.
Alex Castellanos on CNN: Obama was the clear winner on points tonight.
Fox News's Chris Wallace just said that, if he'd just parachuted back in to the country tonight after being on a desert island for four years, he would have thought that Romney was the president, sitting on a lead, and that Obama was the challenger trying to make points.
Actually, Castellanos said Romney won on politics only because he was perceived to have the momentum coming in.
Of course, Wallace has also said that four debates in a row.
Now comes the part where we endure interminable spin (I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Axelrod thought Obama won) while waiting for the instapolls.
In the end, debate number three just guarantees that the next few weeks are going to be a slugfest.
See any parallel here to Carter-Reagan?
I agree with Paul--it is going to be a very tough two weeks out there. My prediction is that this election is going down to the wire.
Post-debate spin on TV seems to be Ds declaring their guy a winner while Rs say this isn't so important because it's about foreign policy and anyway Romney passed the commander in chief test. Translation: Obama won.
CNN instapoll: Obama 48 Romney 40
CNN Poll: 48 percent Obama, 40 percent Romney, close enough for Romney. CBS's Instapoll had Obama way up after last debate but it didn't impact polling.
CNN's John King makes a good point: Key question is whether the debate changed any minds. Time will tell. Good night everyone and thanks for checking in. (And don't forget to vote in our "who won..." poll above.)