Obama gets his mojo back in the debate. A haunting “Moth” story from the West Memphis 3. And a sick 4-year-old tries to meet Justin Bieber

Well hot damn and pass the popcorn, that was a hell of a lot better, Mr. President.

In Debate No. 2 of the presidential debate trilogy of ’12, both candidates actually showed up this time. And Barack Obama kicked some serious tushy. The President was feisty, he was aggressive, challenging Mitt Romney on so many lies and changes from his stated positions.
I thought Romney was aggressive too, and pushy, and interrupting of Candy Crowley and the President, and to me, while the Libya stuff (above) was clearly hugely important and a big blow to Romney, two other moments stood out even more:

1. When Romney interrupted Obama and said “You’ll get your chance in a moment, I’m still speaking,” it spoke volumes to the kind of bully Mitt Romney is. I really thought the two might come to blows during that exchange; (watch it here; Romney speaks the line I’m talking about at 1:40.) I really thought they might come to blows about 15 minutes in, and sadly, it’s big for Obama with white male voters that he stood up to Romney like that.

2. The other big moment I thought was very early in the debate, when Obama called out Romney’s economic numbers and said the math didn’t add up. (When Candy Crowley, who I thought did a pretty good job as moderator, asked about the numbers, Romney dismissed her, saying “Of course the numbers add up!”) It was exceedingly important for Obama to stand up and call Romney out on his lies.

Other quick takeaways:
— I thought Romney had a great shot to humanize himself at the end with that softball question about “what’s the biggest misperception about you?” and turned it into an attack on Obama.
— Man, I cringed when Obama talked about W., and basically praised him for not being as far right as Romney. Still too soon for me to think any positive thoughts, at all, about W.
— Great to see a gun control question get asked (but of course still nothing on climate change, or stem cell research). But as usual, both Romney and Obama wimped out. Politicians are so disgustingly afraid of the NRA and gun owners, it’s sad.

I have no idea if Obama will get a big poll bounce after this, but he did all he could do to erase the stench of the first debate. Tonight, I was proud to have voted for him and supported him.

**Every once in a while a story from “The Moth” radio podcast I listen to moves me so much I want to share it here.
Damien Echols is a member of the infamous “West Memphis 3,” the three teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of a 1993 murder, Echols was sentenced to death, but was released from jail in 2011 when new evidence finally cleared the men.

Echols, who has a new book out now, told his story at “The Moth” recently, and it was incredibly powerful. Listen to it here. or on iTunes.

**Finally, I thought this was pretty cool. A school in Wisconsin is trying to help a 4-year-old girl named Hailey Charlotte Roser, who is sick with a rare brain tumor, meet Justin Bieber when he comes to Milwaukee for a concer this weekend. So they made this very cool video to one of Bieber’s songs.

I hope someone shows this to Bieber and he makes this girl’s life just a tiny bit happier.

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