President Barack Obama, knowing he had to make a better showing in Tuesday's presdiential debate, showed a lot more energy and fire than his lackluster performance in the first debate.
Former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney, aniticipating a stronger showing from the president, was on top of his game as well.
Add in the town hall format, where candidates were free to roam the stage, unencumbered by lecterns, sitting on tall chairs (in neutral corners?) when they weren't talking, and the debate Tuesday seemed a lot more combative.
At times we expected moderator Candy Crowley was going to have to jump on stage, step between them and tell them to break it up. She could have used a bell like they use to signal the rounds in a boxing match to tell the candidates when their time was up.
As for points made, Obama again hammered the Romney plan for economic growth as a plan to ease the tax burden on the wealthy and raise taxes for the middle class. He challenged Romney's declarations that he would make China play fair in the trade, claiming Romney was a big investor in companies that sent jobs to China.
Romney was less than assuring in his commitment to middle class taxpayers when he said he would ease their tax burden by lowering taxes on their interest earnings and capital gains. There are not a lot of middle class wage earners, at least in the middle class we're familiar with, who have a lot of interest earnings to declare on their taxes or large investment portfolios that are subject to capital gains taxes.
In all, it was a close contest. Call it a split decision, where both candidates can lay a claim to victory. It mirrors the closeness of the race, where polls show Romney taking a razor thin lead.