Obama, Romney Back on Campaign Trail

    President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at Cornell College, in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, October 17, 2012.
    President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at Cornell College, in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, October 17, 2012.
    Carla BabbPamela 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

    Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop at Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake, Virginia, October 17, 2012.Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop at Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake, Virginia, October 17, 2012.
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    Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop at Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake, Virginia, October 17, 2012.
    Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop at Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake, Virginia, October 17, 2012.
    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



    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.

    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her bylines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    October 18, 2012 1:22 PM
    From where did some of you get your facts to say Obama won 46% to Romney's 39%? Romney won discussion on economy 58% and foreign affairs 52%. These two were the pivotal issues in the last debate, so what other criteria applied? An insider deal thing? I'm worried about America's.
    Well any way! my concern is that America needs a president who will defeat the enemy not one who will pally them. America's enemy is a sworn one, one under oath to destroy America that any measure put in place to win them over is a postponement of the evil day. It's like sitting on a keg of gunpowder. It needs just very little provocation to ignite it, like an amateur film, cartoon of one of their so-called prophets, or even such human rights matters like pallying with some party they consider their enemy. It is something you cannot bank on. You either subdue them or let them alone. Trying to win them over is suicidal. By my rating, Romney is more suitable for this job, for he understands who's America's friend and who's not.
    In Response

    by: Chuks
    October 19, 2012 11:50 AM
    From what you've said ''America needs a President who will defeat the enemy''. What has Obama done in that regard? When he was elected, he promised to make the World a better place by fighting and/or terminating the lives of high profile terrorists. Osama bin Laden was still alive when he made that promise, today he's no more and Al Qaeda as a group is currently being hunted. So when you say 'pallying'' with the enemy, it doesn't add up.
    Meanwhile, Obama's view on terrorism is that America shouldn't spend excessively on endless wars rather the money should be saved and used to upgrade other sectors-education, health, etc

    by: Chuks Ogbaga
    October 17, 2012 5:25 PM
    Having watched the two debates between rival candidates, I can say that I'm not interested in the quality of performance but realistic policies and a candidate who can tell not only the American people the truth but the global village. Romney seems to have some of his points wrong like when he criticised Obama for not responding to the attack on Libyan consulate quickly which was wrong, on the deficit-wrong as well and a whole bunch of issues. However, Romney may have a quicker solution to job creation having been in business for a long time. Americans should vote with their conscience.
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    October 18, 2012 11:53 AM
    Chuka, please admit roundly that Romney is the man. He was not wrong in his criticism of Obama's handling of the 9/11 anniversary bombing in Libya. Instead he should be credited for being prompt to recognize that it was a terrorist attack while Obama prevaricated. You should also give to him that he knows better how not to launch America deeper into deficit, so he was right. Thanks for recognizing that he knows so well what to do to bring jobs back to Americans. That's a knock out. Romney is the man.

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