News / USA

Obama, Romney Looking to Build Off Debate Encounter

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.
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Kent Klein

President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, were back on the campaign trail Wednesday, after Tuesday night's contentious debate.  Both candidates tried to build on the points they made during the debate.

President Obama, Governor Romney, and their running mates fanned out across political swing states on Wednesday, with each man trying to convince voters that his side had won the debate.

Obama paid yet another visit to the crucial states of Iowa and Ohio.  In Mount Vernon, Iowa, the Democratic candidate repeated his contention that Romney’s economic agenda differs from the successful plans of previous presidents.



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.
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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.
“His tax plan does not add up.  His jobs plan does not create jobs.  His deficit reduction plan adds to the deficit.  So, Iowa, everybody here has heard of the New Deal.  You have heard of the Fair Deal.  You have heard of the Square Deal.  Mitt Romney is trying to sell you a sketchy deal," he said. 

Many public opinion surveys taken after the debate indicated that a slight majority of voters believed Obama won the debate, and that he performed better than Romney on women’s issues.

But the surveys also show Romney with a substantial lead over the president on economic issues.

Governor Romney told a rally in Chesapeake, Virginia that the U.S. economy is the main issue on women’s minds, and that he is better suited to address it.

Watch a Related Report by Cindy Saine
Obama Fights Back in Second Debatei
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Cindy Saine
October 17, 2012
The day after President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney faced off in the second of their three debates most analysts agreed that Mr. Obama fought back forcefully against Romney, after what was viewed as a weak presidential performance during their first debate. VOA's Cindy Saine looks back at the town hall encounter with an audience of undecided voters.

“And as I go across the country and ask women, ‘What can I do to help?’, what they speak about, day in and day out, is, ‘Help me find a good job or a good job for my spouse, and help my kid.  Make sure my children have a bright future.’  Better schools and better job opportunities.  That is what the women of America are concerned about, and the answers are coming from us and not from Barack Obama," he said. 

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan had a similar message for supporters at a rally near Cleveland, Ohio. “We saw a president not offer a single idea or a lesson learned from the failures of the last four years.  But what we saw in Governor Mitt Romney was a leader who has the solutions, who has the ideas on how to turn this economy around, how to get people back to work," he said. 

Vice President Joe Biden, campaigning in Greeley, Colorado, painted a different picture of Obama. “You all saw the man that I have sat with every day, on average four to six hours a day.  A man of principle, a man of gumption, a man with a steady hand and a clear vision.  That is what America got to see last night," he said. 

President Obama’s lead in public opinion surveys has eroded and possibly disappeared after what is widely regarded as a poor performance in the first of the three debates, on October 3.

Journalism professor Alan Schroeder at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts says the president’s better performance in Tuesday’s debate might help him stop the slide.  

“It was a badly needed win for Obama because, of course, he had messed up so badly in the first debate.  And at that point, the positive narrative shifted away from him and onto Mitt Romney.  And so Obama really needed a change of trajectory, just as far as his news coverage went.  I think this debate will give him that," he said. 

  • 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 last of the three presidential debates, set for next Monday, will focus on foreign policy -15 days before the election.

Political scientist Dewey Clayton at the University of Louisville in Kentucky says the candidates might be more guarded in their comments during the final debate.

“I think last night was a no-holds-barred sort of slugfest.  And so it will be interesting to see if it takes a difference stance, if it is slightly more dignified and slightly more reserved, or more cautious, I should say," he said. 

Most public opinion surveys have President Obama and Governor Romney virtually tied.

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