News / USA

Obama, Romney Spar in Second Debate

Kent Klein
President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney faced off Tuesday in the second of three nationally televised debates. This forum contained far more confrontation than the first, with the candidates occasionally lapsing into arguments.
With his poll numbers fading after a listless performance in the first debate, President Obama was far more energetic and aggressive in the second debate.
He and Governor Romney tangled in a town hall-style forum at Hofstra University, near New York City, where the two candidates fielded questions from an audience of undecided voters.
On several occasions they began to argue, as in this exchange on energy policy.
Obama: “There were a whole bunch of oil companies...”
Romney: “No, I had a, I had a question, and the question was, how much did you cut them by?”
Obama: “You want me to answer the question?  I am happy to answer the question.”  
Romney: “All right.  And it is?”
Obama: “Here is what happened....”

One audience question concerned the September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed the ambassador and three other Americans. 

  • Mariella Roque, 21, of Miami, left, and Jorge Palamino, 24, of Miami, right, supporters of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, cheer as they watch a televised debate between Romney and President Barack Obama in Coral Gables, Florida.
  • Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama spar over energy policy during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, October 16, 2012.
  • Frank Nieves, of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a supporter of President Barack Obama applauds as he watches a televised debate between Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Mr. Obama, Miramar, Florida.
  • President Barack Obama speaks as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney listens during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.
  • Members of the audience look on as U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks as he debates Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the second U.S. presidential debate in Hempstead, New York October 16, 2012.
  • Residents of the Quail Ridge Manor independent living apartment complex watch the presidential debate, October 16, 2012, in Boulder City, Nevada.
  • President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greet each other as they arrive for the presidential debate, October 16, 2012.
  • President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney participate in the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.
  • Students show their support for President Barack Obama as they gather around a television network set on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, site of the presidential debate, October. 16, 2012.
  • Hofstra University junior Corinne Mestemacher poses with cardboard cut outs of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney ahead of the presidential debate, Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.
The president took ultimate responsibility for the security lapses that allowed the attack to happen, but he also criticized Romney for his response to the incident.
“While we were still dealing with our diplomats being threatened, Governor Romney put out a press release, trying to make political points.  And, that is not how a commander-in-chief operates.  You do not turn national security into a political issue," he said. 
Governor Romney said the administration's failures in Benghazi were symbolic of an overall failed Middle East policy.  And, he said it was Obama who played politics in the aftermath of the attack.
“The president, the day after that happened, flies to Las Vegas for a political fundraiser, and the next day to Colorado for another political event. I think these actions taken by a president and leader have symbolic significance," he said.
On the economy, the president defended his record on the economy and promised to continue working to speed the recovery.
“We have created five million jobs, gone from 800,000 jobs a month being lost, and we are making progress.  We saved an auto industry that was on the brink of collapse," he said. 
Governor Romney said Obama's economic record has been poor and would not improve in a second term.
“I think you know better.  I think you know that these last four years have not been so good, as the president just described, and that you do not feel like you are confident that the next four years are going to be much better either.  I can tell you that if you elect President Obama, you know what you are going to get.  You are going to get a repeat of the last four years," he said. 
Romney said the president was not doing enough to confront China on allegations of cheating on trade issues.  He said he would label China a currency manipulator from his first day in office.  The president defended his record on China, saying he has won numerous cases against Beijing at the World Trade Organization.
The two candidates also squared off on immigration, women's issues, gun control and education.
Several polls taken in the moments after the debate gave the president a slight advantage.
A wide majority of Americans believed Romney won the first debate, on October Third, and the Republican challenger has been gaining in public opinion polls since then.  Most recent polls show the two candidates almost even.
Both candidates will campaign in swing states Wednesday. Romney goes to Virginia and the president will visit Iowa and Ohio.
Obama and Governor Romney will meet in one final debate, on foreign policy issues, next Monday in Florida.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Countries Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Brandt Hardin
October 17, 2012 2:26 PM
If lying is a sin then Mitt Romney’s Magic Mormon Underpants are on FIRE! How can any intelligent American vote for a man clouded in secrecy who habitually bends the truth? Income inequality is endangering the Middle Class and making paupers of us all who don’t have those millions upon millions of dollars. Read more about the role of Romney’s riches in this election and the power of his sacred undergarments at The working class of our country can’t AFFORD to allow this election to be bought and sold!

by: Observer from: Southeastasia
October 17, 2012 1:04 PM
Obama is a greenhorn megalomania in foreign policy even after 4 years as the president. Any vote for him means a vote for America's global drastic decline. America's enemies want him to be re-elected for the doom of America. Has he closed down the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp as he promised to do within the first day of his election as the US president. This guy in words can declare rhetorically persuasively that he can change stone into bread, and water into wine. But when it comes to reality, all his words prove empty.

October 17, 2012 7:32 AM
how come the republican's are not talking about how they gut the security at embassy's out of OBAMA BUDGET BY 128 MILLION COME ON TEA PARTY TELL THE WORLD JASON CHAFFETZ GOP HOPE TO BE--SAID YOU HAVE TO PRIORITIZE THINGS--YOU CUT BRAG ABOUT THAT

by: heshukui from: china
October 17, 2012 7:25 AM
I envy the people of the United States!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs