Obama, Romney argue foreign and domestic issues in second debate
The debate was moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley.
Oct. 16, 2012
The second presidential debate, held Tuesday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Ny. and moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, was presented in a town-hall format, with undecided voters chosen by the Gallup Organization asking the questions.
The debate focused on both domestic and foreign issues.
It began with a question from a 20-year-old college student, discouraged by his prospects of finding a job after graduation and about to vote in his first election.
Gov. Romney won the coin toss and answered first, promising to make college more affordable and improve the Pell Grant system.
“I know what it takes to get this economy growing,” he said.
President Obama rebutted, arguing against Romney’s five-point economic plan.
"Governor Romney doesn't have a five point plan," Obama said. "He has a one point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules.”
Regarding taxes, Romney said he plans to stop taxing savings including dividends, capital gains and interests to help the middle class.
"The top 5 percent of taxpayers will continue to pay 60 percent of the taxes the nation collects," Romney said.
He blamed the current administration's spending and borrowing, saying it will lead to an increase in taxes.
Obama came back with comments on the false and vague tax plan of Romney, comparing it to a shady business deal.
"If we're serious about fixing the economy, we have to make sure the wealthy do a little bit more," he said.
The debate then turned to the recent tragedy in Libya, when four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens were killed last month during an attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi.
"When folks mess with Americans, we go after them," Obama said.
He used the end of the war in Iraq and the transition out of Afghanistan, both of which happened under his administration, to argue with the attacks Romney made, and said he took 14 days to declare the revolt an act of terror.
Moderator Crowley brought the debate to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement that took full responsibility for the death of the four Americans in Libya, as she is in charge of America’s diplomatic missions.
Obama stressed that Clinton is part of his team.
“I’m the president, and I’m always responsible,” he said.
The final question asked each candidate to clear up a misconception about themselves, as a man and a presidential candidate.
Romney cited his religion and experiences as a minister and missionary as feeding his desire to take care of others.
"We don’t have to settle," he said.
Gas doesn't have to be at four dollars a gallon and 47 million people do not have to be on food stamps, Romney said. He also said college kids should be able to get jobs after they graduate and unemployment should be decreasing.
"I'll get America working again," he said.
Obama praised the free enterprise system as the best in the world, saying we should reward risk-takers.
"I believe in self-reliance and individual initiative," Obama said.
He also said he believes everyone should play by the same rules and have a "fair shot."
"I want to fight for them," Obama said in reference to veterans and seniors. "If they succeed, I believe the country succeeds."
The 25-person CNN focus group, whose opinions could be seen throughout the debate, ended with 5 saying neither candidate won the debate, 14 saying Obama won and six saying Romney.
The next and final presidential debate will be held on Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., and will focus exclusively on foreign policy.