Obama and Romney Square Off in Heated Debate
A razor-sharp Barack Obama showed up Tuesday for his second presidential debate against Mitt Romney, taking relentless jabs at his rival for the White House that even prompted the audience of supposedly undecided voters to cheer him at one point,
despite being instructed to keep quiet.
``I'm here,'' the president said cheerfully at the mid-way point of the faceoff to CNN's Candy Crowley, the debate's moderator, as she tried to keep the faceoff under control.
Mindful of a dismal debate performance two weeks ago that has helped fuel Romney's ascent in the public opinion polls, an energized Obama bounded onstage in Hempstead, N.Y. apparently determined to undo the damage. He wasted no time taking his first swing at his foe, slamming Romney's economic plan.
``Governor Romney says he's got a five-point plan,'' Obama said. ``Governor Romney doesn't have a five-point plan, he has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules.''
He also mocked Romney's response to the opening question from a 20-year-old college student worried about whether he'd be able to find a job once he graduated. Rather than advocating job creation, Obama said, the Michigan-born Republican once said ``we should let Detroit go bankrupt.''
The most painful moment of the showdown for Romney was when he insisted _ falsely _ that the president failed to immediately characterize the attack on the Benghazi consulate last month as an act of terror. The violence resulted in the deaths of
four Americans, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. envoy to Libya. ``Check the transcript,'' Obama told Romney as he continued to assert that it took the president two weeks to describe the Benghazi attack as terrorism.
It wasn't the only bad moment of the showdown for Romney. He referred to ``binders full of women'' when advocating his own efforts to hire more female employees as Massachusetts governor, a phrase definitely not destined for a Republican campaign ad.
Romney also repeatedly tried to talk over Crowley while complaining about the questioning format. As well, he strode uncomfortably close to Obama, including as he chastised the president for failing to greenlight TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.
(The Associated Press)