Obama, Romney spar in feisty presidential debate

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y., Oct. 17, 2012 - A much more aggressive President Barack Obama showed up for the second presidential debate Tuesday night, but Gov. Mitt Romney pushed back hard. The often raucous 90-minute event seemed more like a shouting match at times, as both candidates tried to convince a group of 82 self-proclaimed “undecided” voters, along with the millions viewing the event, that they are the best choice to lead this country over the next four years.

Obama repeatedly accused Romney of lying about his record and providing voters with a "sketchy deal" to fix the U.S. economy. When Romney said he had a five-point plan to create 12 million jobs, Obama countered: "Gov. Romney says he's got a five-point plan. Gov. 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."

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Romney used much of his time to point out the Obama administration's dismal record on the economy, saying the middle class "has been crushed over the last four years" under Obama's leadership. He pointed out that 23 million Americans are still struggling to find work.

“The president's policies have been exercised over the last four years and they haven't put Americans back to work,” Romney emphasized.

There was no discussion of farm or rural policy, but a rather heated exchange over energy prices and the use of traditional energy sources.

Asked by a questioner whether his Energy Department should play a role in trying to lower skyrocketing gas prices, Obama said, “The most important thing we can do is to make sure we control our own energy.”

Obama said he has “increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it's been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment.” But he also talked about the importance of increasing fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and invested in clean energy production like wind, solar and biofuels.

Romney frequently challenged Obama on his energy policy, arguing that oil production on government land is down 14 percent.

“Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters,” Romney charged.

“I believe very much in our renewable capabilities; ethanol, wind, solar will be an important part of our energy mix. But what we don't need is to have the president keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas,” Romney emphasized.

For a full transcript of the debate: click here




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