5 Things To Watch For In Obama Vs. Romney Sequel

5:54 PM, Oct 16, 2012   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
  • FILED UNDER

WASHINGTON, D.C. (USA Today) -  Ready for Round Two? President Obama and Mitt Romney square off Tuesday night in their second debate, this time answering questions posed by undecided voters.

The town hall-style debate will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Moderator Candy Crowley of CNN will select the questions from the 80-member audience, who were picked in advance by Gallup.

USA TODAY will have full coverage on all of its platforms. Check your local listings on where to catch the action, starting at 9 p.m. ET. Our guide to the five things to watch:

A second chance for Obama: The president said he was too polite in his first face-to-face meeting with Romney, who got a boost in public opinion polls because of his strong debate performance two weeks ago. Obama's advisers promise he will be "aggressive" and "energetic." But if Obama swings too hard in challenging Romney's assertions, will he come off like a bully?

The wind at Romney's back: The Republican's team says the momentum belongs to Romney after the Oct. 3 debate in Denver. Romney has been practicing the same way he did for the Denver debate, by focusing on what he wants to do if elected and why the time is right for America to change course. Can he build on the gains he has already made?


The challenge of speaking directly to voters: The people posing the questions want to be persuaded, which means Obama and Romney have to be engaging, empathetic, believable, likable and presidential -- sometimes all at the same time. It's a danger to appear disengaged, as George H.W. Bush did when he looked at his watch in the 1992 town hall debate. Or to get in your opponent's face, as Al Gore did in 2000 when he walked right up to George W. Bush.

 Finding an opening: Obama surprised some people by not bringing up Romney's comment about 47% of Americans are "victims" who rely on government support during the first debate. He also didn't talk about Romney's record running Bain Capital. Both have been the subject of Obama's campaign commercials. Romney, meanwhile, has been making an issue of Obama's foreign policy and his administration's handling of the deadly attack at the U.S. Consulate in Libya. Will they find a clear path for these attacks?

Prelude to the finale: There is one more debate on Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Florida, and it's supposed to be devoted entirely to foreign policy. The town hall-style debate could be the last chance Obama or Romney can make a direct appeal about their plans to boost the economy. Expect to hear a lot about jobs, taxes and even Romney's "you didn't build that" charge that Obama doesn't help small businesses. 

By Catalina Camia USA Today

 

Most Watched Videos