Obama won this debate as decisively as Romney won the first. He distinguished his plans from Romney's and did not let Romney run from his statements or positions. He took pride in his accomplishments, acknowledged the work yet to be done and spoke with compassion, consistency, focus and vision. He spoke as one who is and deserves to be president.
I can't wait for Round 3.
Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking With Grease." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.
Bob Greene: When candidates have to answer to real people
The town-hall format is never perfect.
The questioners and would-be questioners, waiting patiently for their chance to speak to the candidates, can be excused if there are moments when they may feel like props. The candidates -- during Tuesday night's debate and during almost every town-hall debate -- are eager to hit the talking points they've been rehearsing for days, to shift away from the audience's questions and pound directly at their opponent, to own the stage.
But there is something exceedingly worthwhile about an evening like Tuesday's: It is one of the few occasions when men like Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are told, in effect, by everyday Americans:
Here's what I want to know. You're expected to answer me. If you don't, you may not get the job you want. Oh, and by the way: You have two minutes.
For one night, two of the most powerful people in the nation know that they would do well to remember the names of people who know the candidates' own names by heart. At the lofty level of society where men such as Obama and Romney have grown accustomed to living, they are the ones who always want the floor and can almost always count on having it. They're used to setting the clock, not obeying it.
For us to think that a night like Tuesday is humbling to them -- a night where, in plain sight, they must answer to people they don't know -- is probably unrealistic. Wednesday morning, they'll be back to calling their own shots.
But the format of a town-hall debate is inherently designed to remind two men at the heights what it is like to answer to people, just like the rest of the world has to do. Maybe whoever wins the presidency in three weeks will, from time to time, think about that feeling. If so, the town hall will have been a success.
Bob Greene is a CNN contributor and a bestselling author whose 25 books include "Late Edition: A Love Story"; "Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War"; and "Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen."