Politics

George Will: Hofstra presidential debate ‘immeasurably the best’ in American history

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

During ABC’s wrap-up of Tuesday night’s presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Washington Post columnist George Will proclaimed that the debate was “immeasurably the best” in American history.

“[I] think there was a winner in the sense that Barack Obama not only gained ground that he lost, but he cauterized some wounds that he inflicted on himself by seeming too diffident and disengaged,” Will said. “Both men tonight, I think, tip-toed right up to the point of rudeness, but stepped back. It was a very good fight. I have seen every presidential debate in American history since the floor of Nixon and Kennedy in 1960. This was immeasurably the best.”

Like his Washington Post colleague Charles Krauthammer, Will gave the win to Obama.

“I think the president’s tactical victory was on trying to get Mitt Romney to un-ring a bell, which is very hard to do,” Will continued. “First was on self-deportation and immigration. Mitt Romney probably gained some ground with Hispanics by stressing something by which they’re very unhappy — the president’s failure to come up with immigration reform.  But the self-deportation phrase that Mitt Romney used during the primary is hard to get out from under.”

Will said he was particularly impressed with the president’s timing when he jabbed Romney for his “47 percent” remarks.

“The president held his fire on the 47 percent until he had the last word in the debate,” Will said. “That is, he used it in his summation in a way that Mitt Romney could not explain or respond to. So, I think as a tactical measure tonight, the president did very well, indeed.”

(h/t RCP Video)

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