1. I've slept on it, and I have come to conclude that my initial reaction--that the President won a tough bout on points, remains. He took it because a) he didn't get slaughtered, like last time b) he was engaged, feisty, and well-prepared and c) Mitt missed the opportunity to T-off on him on Libya.
2. During the debate, the Twitterverse was teeming with talk from conservatives about the questions from the "undecided" voters--that undecided or not, the questions asked tended to be framed by a liberal worldview. I agreed at the time, and I agree now. Jonah Goldberg questioned the entire premise of having a town-hall with "undecided" voters in a state in which one candidate has an insurmountable and unassailable lead. He referred to the town-hall crowd as "dyspeptic Democrats", which I believe is about right.
3. I despise, with every ounce of my being, the town hall format. I do not like the getting up and walking around, I do not like the "fronting" and "big man" tactics it engenders, I do not like the "I feel your pain" responses it promotes, and I don't like the fascination with "undecided" voters that it features. Undecided? Ridiculous. You're leaning one way or the other and the only thing undecided about your vote is that either the polls haven't opened or you don't have an absentee ballot. Put simply, they are undecided because either a) they simply haven't been forced to make a decision or b) they are vapid and apolitical.
4. This "equal pay for equal work" thing is a canard, and Mitt should have swatted it away. The 72 (or 77 %) statistic is discredited virtually every day. Where men and women work in the SAME jobs with THE SAME experience, there is almost no difference, and there are volumes of employment statutes on the books to protect women. If he gets another opportunity, he should swat this one into the stands.
5. The question at the end in which each candidate had the opportunity to address a common misconception about them was classic Obama. The man has governed as a man of the left FROM DAY 1, his entire (meager) resume before the Presidency was from the left, and he clearly believes the free market is a dangerous thing that needs to be tamed by powerful government. In his answer, he tried to make people believe otherwise. They are not buying it.
6. I noted that the "undecided" asker of the Equal Pay question (young woman) made a bee-line for the President after the debate to obtain his autograph. Undecided my arse!
7. Here's an idea--let's have a town hall packed with partisans. And the partisans only get to ask questions of the guy on the other side. Love to see that debate.
8. Finally, I'd also like to see a debate in which the candidates are encased in little sound proof booths. They would be able to hear questions, but their microphones would ONLY be live for that portion of time allotted to them--after which it would go dead and they could talk all they want but no one would hear. I think this would solve the bitching at the moderator problem, would promote sharper answers, and would guarantee equal time.