Here’s are three things to watch when President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney face-off tonight in the second presidential debate in New York:
1. How eager will the media be to write the Obama comeback story?
Rest assured: Many of the reporters in Hempstead, New York covering tonight’s town-hall at Hofstra University are already pre-writing “How Obama Got His Groove Back” stories.
Obama admits that he lost to Romney in the first debate in Denver and has been setting the stage in the media for a comeback story ever since.
“Governor Romney had a good night. I had a bad night,” Obama told Diane Sawyer after the face-off in Denver two weeks ago.
“If you have a bad game you just move on, you look forward to the next one, and it makes you that much more determined,” he said.
Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs went even further Tuesday on Morning Joe: “I think you’re going to see an exceptionally strong debate performance tonight from the president.”
“Judging by word coming from the Obama campaign, Tuesday night’s second presidential debate at Hofstra University could be the greatest do-over in history,” wrote columnist Byron York of the Washington Examiner.
2. How will Obama handle questions about Libya?
The debate comes just one day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told news outlets that she takes full responsibility for the security problems that led to the killing of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in Benghazi on Sept. 11 this year.
In a Monday interview with CNN, Clinton essentially gave cover to Obama over whether they are to blame. “The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals, the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision,” she said.
Will Obama echo the same line?
3. How will Romney handle questions about the 47 percent video?
It’s the smoking gun video that some left-leaning pundits are convinced will doom Romney.
Liberals were infuriated following the Denver debate that Obama didn’t hit Romney on the secret video from the liberal Mother Jones website showing Romney say that 47 percent of Americans will not vote for him because they are dependent on government aide.
“Why had the president not once referred to the 47 percent video that showed Romney denigrating half of Americans as moochers and victims who don’t assume responsibility for their lives?” David Corn of Mother Jones wrote after the debate. “After all, this video seemed to have sent the Romney campaign reeling, and focus groups conducted by both campaigns have found it had a serious impact on voter perceptions of Romney.”
If Obama brings up the Mother Jones video, it would force Romney to explain his remarks to an audience who may be unfamiliar with the footage.
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