President Obama won this debate by being President Obama. The formula was simple, really. Tell the truth. Don't waver. Say what you mean. Don't play around with long complex answers. Made it simple and to the point. In the video above, the president points out that he mentioned that Benghazi was an act of terror on September 12, the day after the attacks.
Here's exactly what the president said:
Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe. No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.
Benghazi has been a weak spot in President Obama's foreign policy armor. He and his team were slow to jump on this and put out the cinders before it was a big fire. I agree that questions remain. I admit that I don't understand exactly what happened. I don't understand the security situation. On the other hand, I haven't seen or heard of any information that would suggest that President Obama didn't act on intelligence or advice that would have saved or protected the ambassador.
Robert Reich points out why the President won:
Obama told voters what Romney’s plan was for women (take away their freedom of choice), and for Hispanics (allow police to stop them and demand proof of citizenship, as in the Arizona law “that’s his [Romney’s] policy, and it’s bad policy.”)
He took responsibility for the security lapse in Libya, but made sure Americans understood the danger in Romney’s shoot-from-the-hip, rush to judgment approach to foreign policy.
And the President explained why the way to create more jobs and to get the economy back on track is to strengthen the middle class, in sharp contrast to Romney’s trickle-down redux.
Romney was as combative as in the first debate, but our newly-invigorated president made Romney’s combativeness look like that of a child in a tantrum rather than a principled adult with facts and detailed proposals to support his position.