Barack Obama, who apparently skipped the first debate in order to celebrate his wedding anniversary, showed up for last night’s debate. There was little similarity between the sad, defeated, petulant shell of a man from the first contest and the aggressive, feisty President that slapped Romney all over the stage at Hofstra.
There was something unsettling about hearing Mitt Romney advocating for increased coal use, as though this were 1912 and not 2012. To make things even weirder, he referred to oil as one point as a “vast new resource” as if its wonders had just been discovered. President Obama had an excellent response here about using a combination of wind, solar, and natural gas to increase energy independence and job growth. The other interesting part of Romney’s rhetoric on energy is that he always talks about creating energy independence for North America. Every President going back to Nixon has set a goal of making the United States energy independent. For Romney to expand the area is a lowering of the goalposts, and would be significantly easier to accomplish given the vast reserves of oil in Canada and Mexico. Obama also got the better of him on gas prices: asked why gas prices had gone up so far in his time in office, Obama replied that they’d been low because of the financial collapse, and then suggested that Romney could make them low again if his deregulation triggered another one. BOOM! Policy slam!