Heads up: Top comment and controversy

Reaction: Obama vs Romney presidential debate, round two

He needed to show Presidential bicep after a weak showing in the first debate - and pundits agree that Obama did come out fighting last night. But did he do enough to clinch it?

"President Obama found his pep and punch", says Frank Bruni in the New York Times. "Above all he found his ability to say 'liar,' or some approximation of it." In twenty minutes the incumbent managed to question Romney's truthfulness four times, before moving on to challenge his social policy and hazy budget arithmetic; much better going than the deferential Obama of two weeks ago.

The Independent's David Usborne highlights a moment Obama supporters had been waiting for, when the President recalled "the time behind closed doors his opponent disparaged the 47 per cent of Americans who get government support and don’t play income tax.  'Think who he was talking about,' the President implored, noting that that the group includes students, soldier and veterans.  “If they succeed I believe this country succeeds.”

Roger Simon of Politico chips in with a defence of Obama's record on Benghazi. Romney implied that Obama hadn't done enough to protect his diplomats and had gone soft on terrorist attacks: the President snapped back that he called the attack an "act of terror" immediately - and was backed up by debate moderator Candy Crowley.

Backfire

Karl Rove, who worked as Deputy Chief of Staff during the George W. Bush administration, tells Fox News that the electorate won't react well to Obama's sudden aggression: "Obama needed to dominate by having a vision and instead he came out tonight and went after Romney, which worked more to the disadvantage of the president than Romney." What Obama lacked in attack-dog mode was a vision of the future he could offer the country, and "elections are about the future and not the past."

Romney full steam

Yes, Obama did snap out of his doze, writes Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post, but this was no walkover. "On Libya, Obama ducked on the failure to provide security to our people" and "on style, Romney was generally more commanding throughout and at his best when explaining policies." The losers here? "Obama supporters who were hoping for a change in momentum".

Who do you think swung it?

React Now

Read Next
Andy Coulson  

Andy Coulson: With former News of the World editor cleared of perjury charges, what will he do next?

James Cusick James Cusick
Jack Warner  

Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Tom Peck
Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back