Viewers declare Obama winner in ‘rancorous’ second presidential debate

Online Staff Report

President Barack Obama was declared victor in the second presidential debate against Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) Tuesday, Oct. 16. (Click here for full transcript of debate.)

Held in a town hall-style format at Hofstra University and moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, the 90-minute debate was another contentious feud between the two candidates, with both repeatedly calling the other a liar. CBS went so far as to call the debate “the most rancorous debate ever.”

Trying to make up for a lackluster performance in the first debate Oct. 3, Obama came out swinging, characterizing Romney as a flip-flopper and contending everything from immigration to women’s issues and economic policies.

Gov. Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan, he has a one-point plan,” Obama asserted. “That plan is to make sure that the folks at the top play by a different set of rules.”

Meantime, Romney continued to attempt to paint Obama’s four years as president as a disappointment.

The president has tried, but his policies haven’t worked,” Romney said. “This is a president who has not been able to do what he said he was going to do.”

The most dramatic exchange occurred when Romney criticized the Obama administration’s response to the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three American staffers in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya Sept. 11.

Romney alleged it took Obama two weeks to declare the incident an act of terror. Obama, however, fervently said he had done so the day of the attack in remarks in the White House Rose Garden. The exchange prompted moderator Crowley to defend the president, saying “Yes, he did.”

Furthermore, Obama said he accepted the responsibility for the lapse in security that may have contributed to the deaths and also denied Romney’s allegation that the administration was working to cover up details of the investigation into the attacks for political purposes.

The suggestion that anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, governor, is offensive,” Obama declared. “That’s not what I do as president, that’s not what I do as commander-in-chief.”

The president’s response appeared to put Romney back on his heels.

Unlike the first debate Oct. 3, Obama was more aggressive in attacking Romney’s stances, accusing the former governor of being more conservative in the Republican primaries and then being more centrist during the general election.

In a nod to efforts by Sensata Technologies workers in Freeport, Ill., to save their jobs from being outsourced to China by parent company Bain Capital, Obama attacked Romney for his time as Bain CEO when the private equity investment firm outsourced jobs to China. One-hundred seventy workers are facing outsourcing at the Freeport plant in November.

Obama also took a parting jab at Romney during his closing statement, noting Romney’s “47 percent” statement about how he “didn’t care” about the poor and nearly half the country. Obama saved the remark for his closing statement, when Romney did not have an opportunity to respond.

A CNN/ORC International poll taken after the debate showed 46 percent of respondents viewed Obama as the winner of the debate, compared to 39 percent who believed Romney won the debate.

The Oct. 16 debate could prove a turning point for the Obama campaign, which has seen a drop in the polls since the president’s below-average performance in the first debate Oct. 3.

An Oct. 17 Rasmussen Tracking poll showed Romney leading Obama 49-48 percent. Meantime, an Oct. 16 Gallup Tracking poll had Romney at 50 percent and Obama at 46 percent. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken Oct. 2, the day before the first presidential debate, showed Obama leading Romney 49-46 percent.

The final presidential debate of the season will be from 8 to 9:30 p.m. (Central), Monday, Oct. 22, at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. Moderator will be Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’s Face the Nation. Topic will be foreign policy.

The Nov. 6 General Election is now 19 days away.

Posted Oct. 17, 2012

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