Second Presidential Debate 2012 Analysis: Who Won?

George Will, Donna Brazile, Matthew Dowd, Nicolle Wallace analyze Obama, Romney debate performances.
3:00 | 10/16/12

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Transcript for Second Presidential Debate 2012 Analysis: Who Won?
And very you have a the second debate is over and it was a rocket -- ride fueled by adrenaline and you are telling us so much more you are writing us about the fire in that room and George about the tension. It Gresham a lot of people were saying and there emails to us I want to put a picture up there in the corner there you see. What everybody thinks is a picture that sums it up there are times photo tonight how they were dealing with each other -- that -- -- the story tonight both candidates decided they were gonna -- partisans tonight Rouse her supporters not worry so much about those uncommitted voters maybe many of them in the -- room who might score. When they see that kind of tension as the candidates go -- -- -- -- but then what you Simon and look at the closing statement. The President Obama just gave talking about the 47% common Mitt Romney that was the answer a lot of Democrats we're expecting in the first question to the first debate. And you saw from the start of this debate tonight the President Obama brought the debate. The Democrats need to see from him he unloaded. -- Mitt Romney on just about every single issue Romney did manage to hold his own especially when he was talking. About -- Obama's record when he addressed the questioners directly but I think that he ended up getting into some trouble. When he was arguing with a moderator and what could be the moment of the night. Diane is the exchange on Libya. Where governor Romney said the President Obama did not refer to an act of terror the day after the attack. When in fact he said he did he was backed up eye Candy Crowley the moderator. Barrett as always let us go to our Matthew Dowd who was invited president -- campaigns over two decades. Lay it on the line -- was -- clear -- just yet very clear Victor President Obama gets the victory in this that is overwhelming. As Mitt Romney but he gets a victory in I don't want -- mix a lot of sports metaphors but this was a heavyweight right. President Obama dropped the rope a dope strategy from two weeks ago and came out swinging jab jab jab he did not come out but he won on points. That -- -- -- the points a loss over the licenses performance last time he's gonna gain some of those back clear victory for President Obama we'll. I disagree a little bit I think that Romney had had one strategic goal tonight he had to speak directly to the people to the voters who. Voted for Obama last time that there aren't happy with the pace of recovery and I didn't think he took is clear the line to those voters as he could have been -- -- two weeks ago. There's a big difference tonight he had an opponent in Barack Obama. And there's Nicole Wallace from the Republican side how about Donna Brazil for the Democrats -- -- because I think President Obama came tonight that to play. Ball he -- -- took the game to Mitt Romney he had concise answers he was feisty he was in command of the issues of fats and the from a stylistic point of view he stood up that he approached not only the person asked a question that he was able to respond to Mitt Romney the things that he didn't do a week ago. So George will rent us that here was President Obama the winner tonight. We're having a little trouble here in Georgia we hate not to hear George get -- usually almost certainly get recognized Jake Tapper right now recently heard. That the Obama team was out in force -- before the debate was even -- That's right and once -- -- today we're gonna say President Obama won this no matter what. But they are I think even some Democrats not affiliated with the campaign. Very happy about the president's performance saying he was aggressive he was firm maybe he started out a little shaky at the beginning a little too eager perhaps to mix it up. With Mitt Romney the by the end. Democrats say people on the Obama campaign say this is the president that the Americans people who like President Obama. No assertive aggressive and many of them citing that. Thank -- as the back and forth George that you alluded to saying that Mitt Romney was wrong President Obama did use the term. Acts of terror in his remarks the day after that what what happened and they got to George. This one of the first tweets we got by the way Jake was somewhat saying -- President Obama woke up. And let's go now to David here who's been covering the Romney campaign what are they saying to you. Really fascinating -- to watch this in the hall here tonight governor -- becoming first. And -- sort of a new strategy trying to connect talking to that student who asked that question. Calling him my name's Jeremy asking him -- he would gradually taking interest in him. But I gotta tell you this was quickly overshadowed by. The tension inside this town -- these are two men who appeared not to like each other very much that was very evident inside that room. But the Romney campaign is saying tonight is that the president was -- strident. That he was too negative against Mitt Romney in fact this struck me they said he raised the volume of his voice but didn't improve the value of his argument. But I gotta tell you that moment in the room -- that Libya question that Jake Tapper product endorsements and a moment ago. Was palpable the room went silent and and the applause. And also on the pension you could tell that the governor worked on that tension line asking the president. If he -- at his own pension but the president turning around the governor saying I don't look at mine yours is much bigger. So that'll be -- fodder for tomorrow as well. We want to go straight to George Miller communications are back up right now and the big question George was there a winner. -- to change things. That voters will tell us I think there was a winner in the sense that Barack Obama mama made -- down to bring ground that -- lost but he caught arise some wounds that he. Inflicted on himself by seeming to differ -- disengaged. Both can't Mendon night I think tiptoed right up to the point -- -- but stepped back. It was a very good fight I have seen every presidential debate in American history since the four of Nixon and Kennedy in 1960. This was -- measurably the best and I think the president's tactical victory was. On trying to get Mitt Romney to un ring a bell which she is very hard to do first was on self deportation and emigration. Mitt Romney probably gained some ground with Hispanics by. Stressing something about which there very unhappy the president's failure. Come up with immigration reform but the self deportation phrase that the president the dog Mitt Romney used during the primaries is hard to get out from under. And the president held his fire on the 47%. Until he have the last word in the debate that is used it in his summation. In a way that Mitt Romney could not explain responses so I think as a tactical measure tonight the president's did very well and he. So we have -- absolute the best debate. George will has seen so many of you noticed were fact checking some of the events in the debate tonight from home. And our own Jonathan Karl is standing by at our fact check desk to examine some of the most inflamed disagreements tonight job. -- die and one of the big one was that issue of the Detroit auto bailout. Really one of the real flashpoints in this debate is when governor Romney said to the president. You say I let Detroit go bankrupt like you wanted to -- you let Detroit go bankrupt you he said. Took Detroit into bankruptcy. And he said that is precisely what I wanted and that's what ultimately happened. But I'd die and that there there's a little bit of a half truth here it is true that under president Obama's plan. Chrysler and General Motors did go through Chapter Eleven bankruptcy it was -- managed bankruptcy. But they did it with eighty billion dollars of federal money. That was the bailout in the auto bailout and that is something that Romney opposed -- -- that money should come from the private sector. And many experts say there just wasn't money in the private sector. For the auto industry at that point. And then there was this when I I think this was actually the most heated exchange in the debate it was on the question of oil and natural gas drilling on public lands take a listen. The day after the attack governor. I stood in the Rose Garden. And I told the American people in the world's. -- we're gonna find out exactly what happened. But this was an act of terror. And I also said -- hunt down those who committed this month. Well that was not the oil and gas exchange that was obviously the -- -- -- exchange and by the way on that Diane the president did that day in the Rose Garden actually say. No acts of terrible ever shake the resolve of this great nation talking about what happened there. But it was another two weeks before he referred to that attack is a terrorist attack but on this issue of oil and gas drilling. Governor Romney said that oil and gas drilling is down by 50% on public lands. That is not exactly true but it's not far off in fact we looked at the numbers and oil drilling permits on public land. Dropped by 37%. In the first two years of the Obama administration 42%. In terms of leases for natural gas so the numbers weren't exactly right but it's it it is true that that those drilling leases and permits are down under president. Now -- looking at an all time -- want to bring in Matthew -- again because. We -- the final time count according to one calculation President Obama had more time tonight. 44 minutes -- governor Romney's forty minutes. At first about what do you think of that and how how was this going to change in the next few days -- first that. I think voters than -- 67 million people watching it are not gonna come away compression are gonna come away with the impression that both these candidates have played -- time to talk about what they wanted. I think what this may lead to is -- much -- conservatives Republicans attacking Candy Crowley and when that happens that is a sure sign. The President Obama won this when you start attacking the rappers are attacking the umpire it means you left a lot of plays on the field and it when you see that you know they know they law. You already are seeing Ed -- from running campaign sandy -- was wrong. When she called that Mitt Romney and that the -- one on this question how much -- change it does seem that President Obama at least built a fire wall tonight. Get coming off -- that first debate. I'm -- -- part of me that conclusion that Republicans -- couldn't couldn't walk and talk into government not be able to right now but up. We can make the point that -- -- do they need to do -- think it's clear tonight that undecided voters as she was there are going to be pleased with Obama's anger. His visceral attacks on Ronnie and I think with. Run is done the whole time going back to the primary is to put one foot in front of the other and to make his case methodically he did not fail to do that tonight he succeeded. And and really the big stark differences -- is that he had someone to debate tonight but I think that that the Romney campaign will be able to make these points about candy. It's a fact that he had less time it's a fact that the room was stacked against him and it's a fact. That they can he played a more activist role that I think anybody expected it. Republicans lose debate they always find something wrong with -- -- -- of the refereed the point is is that Mitt Romney was now his game. -- and understand his positions President Obama insisted his positions as well as Mitt Romney's previous positions so tonight. Obama won because he was. Able to answer Mitt Romney and all those all the things -- six weeks ago Hubert George bill called the best presidential debate ever -- it certainly was the most fierce and 67 million people watched the first -- will let you now about this one thank you for joining us.

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

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