'Pugnacious and provocative'
Tea Party stalwarts concede Obama/Romney debate was ‘a great rumble’
After clearly losing two weeks ago, Democrats were understandably elated Tuesday after President Barack Obama’s high-energy performance against Republican challenger Mitt Romney at Long Island’s Hofstra University in the second of three presidential debates.
As Pasadena City Councilwoman Jacque Robinson put it shortly after the sometimes contentious town hall-style contest moderated by a no-nonsense Candy Crowley of CNN, “Obama brought his ‘A’ game,” Robinson said. “The first debate was a bump in the road. On Tuesday, he was more forceful and he conveyed what he has accomplished and why he deserves a second term.”
Considering the second-term councilwoman was trained in Obama’s Yes We Can leadership program before either she or the president took office, her favorable reaction was not surprising. Neither was the nearly universal approval of other Democrats, most of whom said Obama won, reflecting at least a portion of the national sentiment captured in a “flash poll” conducted by CBS News immediately following the debate, which found the president won by a 37 percent to 30 percent margin over Romney.
What was somewhat remarkable was the begrudging but respectful reaction of Obama’s biggest detractors — top members of the ultra-conservative tea party.
“I expected Barack Obama to be pugnacious and provocative, and he was, but with no net effect,” maintained Mike Alexander, head of the Pasadena Patriots, an arm of the tea party. “Barack Obama remains behind, forced to defend an indefensible record. He gets points for debate style and form, points off for substance in defending his record of the last four years.”
Jonathan Wilson, co-founder of Teapac and producer of the tea party Revolutionary War-era series “Courage New Hampshire,” was more animated in his appraisal of the two candidates.
“What a great debate, what a fun debate,” Wilson exclaimed. “It was a great rumble.”
On every issue, “I thought they went toe-to-toe,” he said. But in the end, Wilson maintains Romney won. “Obama was more aggressive this time, but Romney won the day,” Wilson said. “[Romney] has a better vision for where he wants to take the country, articulates it well, and he will win over independents.”