Obama, Romney to Face Off in Pivotal 2nd Debate

Mitt Romney and Barack ObamaMitt Romney and Barack Obama
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama faces a crucial second debate Tuesday with Republican challenger Mitt Romney at Hofstra University in New York state.  Both candidates have made intense preparations for this encounter.

With polls showing either President Obama or Mitt Romney with a narrow lead nationally, and close contests in key battleground states, both campaigns have expressed confidence ahead of the debate.

Romney has been in the Boston area practicing. President Obama spent a third and final day in Williamsburg, Virginia, immersed in preparations with advisers and campaign staff.

Officials describe him as "calm and energized," saying he is ready to make a passionate case that his policies will be better for middle class Americans than Romney's.

Both campaigns unleashed new ads.  An Obama ad featured supporters voicing confidence in his economic policies.  Romney ads used excerpts from the first presidential debate.

OBAMA AD:  "President Obama does get what people need and that is jobs and the opportunity to help themselves."   VOTER:  "Stick with this guy, he will move us forward."

ROMNEY AD:  "Look at the evidence of the last four years.  Under the president's policies, middle income Americans have been buried.  They have just been crushed."

Obama campaign officials declined to detail how the president's preparation has differed from the first debate, when Obama said he had a "bad night."

Brookings Institution analyst Stephen Hess says the president has a chance to recover from his poor performance in the first debate.

"The first [debate] is terribly important, that has been the history of these debates.  But there have been other situations, certainly an example of a comeback would have been Ronald Reagan in his second campaign when he was running against [Walter] Mondale and in which he did very poorly in his first debate and came back very strong in his second debate and of course overwhelmingly won that election," said Hess.

The campaigns are also focusing on key states like Ohio.  No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio.  Polls show President Obama holding on to a lead there.

His wife Michelle spoke in central Ohio on Monday about what she called her husband's conviction.  In neighboring Pennsylvania, Ann Romney said the last debate gave Americans an "unfiltered" picture of her husband.

ANN ROMNEY:  "They heard with their ears and they saw with their eyes and what did they see, they saw a man ready and prepared to lead this country."

MICHELLE OBAMA:  "What truly made me fall in love with my husband was his character and I mean that, it was his decency and his honesty, the same thing we see in him every single day as president, that compassion and conviction."

Tuesday's second debate will be a town hall format that analysts say will test the ability of both candidates to respond spontaneously to questions from the audience, with possible followups from the moderator.

Foreign policy will be the focus of a third and final debate next week in Florida.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs