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October 17, 2012

Obama, Romney Back on Campaign Trail

by Carla Babb, Pamela Dockins

U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney returned to the campaign trail on Wednesday, following Tuesday night's debate.
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Analysts say the president delivered a stronger performance in his second face-off against Romney.

Obama appeared to try to capitalize on that during a campaign stop in Iowa on Wednesday. Referring to the debate, he said Romney's five-point plan to boost the economy is really a one-point plan that offers special benefits to the wealthy.

Obama, Romney continue counterpunching

​​Romney told supporters in Virginia that Obama does not have an agenda for a second term. He said the president has no jobs plan and that middle income American families face a $4,000 a year tax increase if Obama is re-elected.

Obama also will campaign in Ohio on Wednesday, while Romney will make a second appearance in Virginia.

Two polls released shortly after Tuesday's debate give Obama the edge, a reversal from the two men's first debate earlier this month.

A CNN/ORC International poll says 46 percent of voters who watched the debate thought the president won the showdown, while 39 percent believed Romney did better.

Poll results

In a CBS poll of voters, 37 percent said Obama won, 30 percent favored Romney and 33 percent said the debate was a tie.

During the debate at New York's Hofstra University, the two men took questions from undecided voters.

Related report by Cindy Saine

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Romney went on the offensive against the president's record of the last four years, saying Obama had "doubled" the deficit and did not accomplish what he said he would do.

"He said that by now we'd have unemployment at 5.4 percent. The difference between where it is and 5.4 percent is 9 million Americans without work," said the former governor of Massachusetts. "He said he would have by now put forward a plan to reform Medicare and Social Security because he pointed out they're on the road to bankruptcy. He would reform them. He'd get that done. He hasn't even made a proposal on either one."

Several key issues dominate

The president fired back, saying he has kept most of his commitments and that the ones he has not kept were not for "a lack of trying."

"Four years ago I told the American people, and I told you, I would cut taxes for middle class families, and I did," said the president. "I told you I'd cut taxes on small businesses and I have. I said I would end the war in Iraq, and I did. I said that we would refocus attention on those who actually attacked us on 9-11, and we have gone after al-Qaida's leadership like never before and Osama bin Laden is dead."

The two also battled over plans to pull the U.S. out of its economic slump in the next four years.

"If somebody came to you, governor, with a plan that said, 'Here I want to spend $7 or $8 trillion, and we're going to pay for it but we can't to tell you how until after the election how we're going to do it,' you wouldn't have taken such a sketchy deal," said Obama. "And neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn't add up."

"Of course they add up," Romney replied. "I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years and balanced the budget. I ran the Olympics and balanced the budget. I ran the state of Massachusetts as a governor, to the extent any governor does, and balanced the budget all four years. When we're talking about math that doesn't add up, how about $4 trillion of deficits?"

The two presidential contenders also focused on immigration, the attack on the Libyan consulate, and the country's energy policy. But the rise in tensions between the two, including both candidates talking over the moderator and each other, at times seemed to draw more attention than the actual substance of the debate answers.

Obama and Romney will meet for their final debate before the November election on Monday.