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President’s early charge scores against Romney

PHOENIX — Typically, town hall debates are more finesse than fireworks. That certainly wasn’t the case Tuesday night.

When President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney squared off in their second debate, it was clear from the beginning this would not be a repeat of Denver.

Valley pollster Bruce Merrill said the president knew he had to be aggressive immediately and he was.

“At the very minimum the president stopped the slide, the momentum toward Romney. If he had of performed the way he did in the first debate, frankly this election would have been over,” Merrill said.

“The president had an agenda and knew his lost the first debate badly. He had to confront Romney and he did that.”

Merrill said Obama closed strong by going after Romney for his behind-closed-doors comments that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on government and see themselves as victims.

“Very, very strong and really defines this election. The wealthy who are doing extremely well and how to get the country moving.”

Merrill gave Romney high marks for his debate performance.

“This debate was very close but in the end I give Obama a slight advantage but Romney did extremely well.”