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High Fire Danger Wednesday

Candidates Square-Off in Second Presidential Debate

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

President Obama and Mitt Romney faced off in their second presidential debate Tuesday night. The candidates took part in a town hall-style meeting on the campus of Hofstra Univeristy on New York's Long Island.

President Obama and Mitt Romney’s second debate featured more energy and fireworks than was seen in their first debate. It didn't take long for the candidates to go toe-to-toe in the town hall-style debate.

The different style of debate had no clear winner according to a CBS News spot poll. It says one out of three people who watched say it was a tie the big reason: both candidates came out swinging.

An aggressive President Barack Obama ripped into Mitt Romney's economic proposals, accusing his rival of favoring a "one-point plan" to help the rich at the expense of the middle class. The Republican protested the charge was way off the mark.

"The middle class has been crushed over the last four years," Romney said in the opening moments of the 90-minute debate, the second of three between the two men.

Obama strode onto the debate stage seeking a stronger showing than the listless performance in their initial encounter, which had sent shudders through his partisan supporters and helped fuel a rise in opinion polls by Romney.

Republican Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama's energies policies and said his rival "has not been Mr. Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal."

Obama said he wants U.S. energy policy to look ahead 20 or 30 years, and not just look at what lowers the cost right away. The president says he's all for oil and natural gas, but he says he will not focus on them exclusively at the peril of renewable energy sources that could create thousands of jobs.

Romney says Obama has fought new energy exploration on federal lands and that Americans have faced higher energy costs as a result.

The President and Romney clashed over immigration, with Romney accusing Obama of failing to reform the immigration system during his first term.

Romney says during the second presidential debate that the nation needs to stop illegal immigration, noting that 4 million people are trying to gain American citizenship legally. He says he won't grant amnesty to people who come to the U.S. illegally.

Obama says Romney has opposed the DREAM Act, a failed bill that would have provided a path to legal status for many young illegal immigrants.

He says Republicans in Congress have been unwilling to support comprehensive immigration reform and won't in the future with Romney as the "standard-bearer" of his party.

When the question about security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya was raised, President Obama said the responsibility for what happened at the falls to him and to no one else. Romney said the president's team either didn't know all the details -- or didn't tell the truth -- about the death of four Americans there immediately after the attacks.

Obama says he wants to find out exactly what made possible those four deaths and calls Romney's response offensive and designed to score political points.

Romney says the attacks represent the unraveling of Obama's foreign policy.

Both candidates took time to answer the question of how they would handle tax policy. President Obama and Romney said their tax plans would benefit the middle class and spur job creation, and both are suggesting their opponent's plan would do the opposite.

Romney said cutting tax rates across the board would spur job growth. He says bringing rates down makes it easy for small businesses to keep more of their capital and hire more workers.

But Obama, who supports raising tax rates on upper incomes, said Romney's proposed tax cuts and his calls for increased military spending would add trillions to the federal debt.

Obama said to Romney, a former businessman, quote, "You wouldn't have taken such a sketchy deal."

He says the American people shouldn't accept that deal either.

During the first debate, President Barack Obama never mentioned Mitt Romney's videotaped remarks that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on the government. This time it was his closing argument.

Obama brought it up during the final question of the second debate, preventing Romney from answering.

Asked about public misperceptions of their candidacies, Romney said Obama's campaign tried to turn him into something he's not.

Romney said, quote, "I care about 100 percent of the American people."

Obama responded that when Romney said "behind closed doors" that 47 percent of the country considered themselves victims, "think about who he was talking about."

The president said that group included the elderly receiving Social Security, veterans, students and soldiers. He said: "If they succeed, I believe this country succeeds."


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