Obama Wins Second Presidential Debate on 'Populist Intent'

Yahoo! News' Jeff Greenfield: "Winner is the person who commands the room."
3:00 | 10/16/12

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Transcript for Obama Wins Second Presidential Debate on 'Populist Intent'
Jeff Greenfield -- -- alumni -- ABC news and current columnist for Yahoo! News he's that they Yahoo! News studios in New York nightcap. I am very curious to -- do you think it -- a clear winner tonight. Got if you were taking notes earlier before the debate and mentioned that the winner of a debate is a person who commands the room who comprise the narrative. And tonight. Obama did he did some it was very difficult this able to take questions from regular people and turn them. It's a very tough criticisms of Romney including someone on I won't seek personal grounds but on his wealth. On the taxes he paid based on the money. He made on the investments in China. Clearly was a populist intent behind all of Obama's remarks that was the overarching narrative right through to the end when. Finally to those who played a drinking game they heard 47%. -- As as you might expect Romney's strongest point and it's been the strongest points of the whole campaign was. Here's what he said here's what he did the gap is enormous that's what you don't want another four years that was in my view Romney's best answer. But again and again you saw the president. Take an argument. And turned and counter -- even when Romney came after him he would turn it and counterpunch and while the line about the pension may have been. Kind of -- for more you noticed that was exactly what Romney said to you can leverage that -- Gingrich -- that key primary debate have you looked at your investment. And whether Obama was ready for not he he did have an answer. I also agree that on the Libyan exchange by becoming the president and speaking for our country had been attacked. He was able to deflect some of the apparently quite legitimate criticism of of the lack of security. So that. The real question is does this change anything. What I would just say one more thing is if this if this debate was the first debate. Obama had behaved in Denver the way he did tonight I believe this election be effectively over. Now to question whether he staunch the damage that happened from the first thing. But just a few word and it truly undecided. Uncommitted voter. You walk away from this feeling -- -- -- about how to make your choice and it seems like this was a debate. That's focused a lot on the base but I don't know if you are satisfied if you -- truly on the fence. Based on what we know that the truly undecided voters there were probably watching the -- conflicted because they're generally very they don't care much about. But if I can put that -- -- if they were watching this debate. I don't know if I do not think he gave -- a clear reason to vote but if they were seen in Obama from the from December. And unfocused. In different passive guy. We certainly saw a very different Obama. And just to reiterate this point -- the undecided voters are of essentially populist bent. I think Obama repeatedly. Gave them a message that this guy doesn't care about. And it and it was much more effective than anything he -- in -- to that extent. It's possible -- had a an impact on. On moving those voters I think you just have to -- I've always -- you have to wait two or three days. To let this marinate to have people have conversations about this -- very curious to see if nearly as many people watch this is a 67 million did. But there's no question that that you know the president came out and -- figured out and he and his team had figured out. Have you used this format. To make the case against Mitt Romney without seeming like a -- and I think to a substantial accent you succeed. Jeff as you know you -- over the next two or three days as you know this now shifts to the post debate spin phase where. Each side which is out to to their supporters get the talking points out. And and and tries to retroactively claim victory did you hear anything tonight. That bit left out at you is as fodder for that that that approach. -- first of all you know anybody who goes into the spin room accepted and we expect the information. Act act act. This is Xinhua I wanna I got a preacher in -- we can sell or her. The -- -- -- the thing that that the line that I think. Might have moved people was little the last one I think Obama. If you people wondering when that was gonna come up and he was the last person to speak it was a little like Reagan saying we better off Romney had -- transfer but -- because that's the way the logistics work and to that extent. Obama may have reinforced the notion that governor Romney really is a candidate of the privilege. But I would I would certainly say that this debate was not nearly as. As powerful in terms of moving people the first debate I just know -- not believe this in my heart. That entire Obama camp is saying this it happened in December. We could be measuring the drapes for -- new office. Can't -- in Denver. Jeff Greenfield really appreciate your time tonight thank you fair analysis.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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