Pretty straightforward scorecard on the second debate.

1. ENERGETICS! The media and public demanded a dogfight, and they got one. Obama: Top Dog.

2. SOUND BITES. The debates are structured to determine who can best spit out sound bites in real time on their feet. This at least has a remote connection to governing, but that’s about all these debate formats provide in the way of useful information. Mitt was shaky from the start, knowing that he wasn’t going to get a second chance to ambush Obama with a blizzard of new positions and time poaching. Romney lost this portion early on when he goaded the president into responding IN MITT’S OWN TALKING TIME to one of his Cheap Plastic Talking Points about drilling on federal land, that, oh, Obama HAD AN ANSWER FOR. He sealed his fate toward the end by trying to gain the most craven type of political mileage out of the tragic American deaths in Libya, not by bringing them up as a legitimate source of discussion, but with the sleaziest kind of unsubstantiated charges and innuendo. Obama called him on it, hard, and it stuck. Obama: Top Dog With Teeth.

3. The ACTUAL POLICIES! You’d think that this is what debates would be designed to explore in some meaningful way, in contrast to the rest of the campaign, but only if you were from some other planet. We don’t WANT to understand economics, macro or micro. We want the best sounding promises! But if the debates HAD been about sensible policy, Obama would have won this too, because his policies make sense, and Mitt’s are a collection of preposterous made-up numbers that he knows he will never be seriously called on. Whatever, he isn’t going to get away with it. Obama: Top Dog With Teeth and a Second Term.