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Breaking down the second presidential debate

Tuesday's presidential debate was at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley.

Barack Obama, 51

Elected president after one term in U.S. Senate and eight years in Illinois State Senate. Married with two daughters.

Mitt Romney, 65

Former governor of Massachusetts; founded Bain Capital, a venture capital firm. Married with five sons.

Quote I
"What Gov. Romney said just isn't true. He wanted to take them into bankruptcy without providing them any way to stay open. And we would have lost a million jobs. And don't take my word for it, take the executives at GM and Chrysler, some of whom are Republicans, may even support Gov. Romney.""I know he keeps saying, you want to take Detroit bankrupt. Well, the president took Detroit bankrupt. You took General Motors bankrupt. You took Chrysler bankrupt. ... And I think it's important to know that was a process that was necessary to get those companies back on their feet, so they could start hiring more people."
Quote II
On taxes: "If somebody came to you, Governor, with a plan that said, here, I want to spend $7 or $8 trillion, and then we're going to pay for it, but we can't tell you until maybe after the election how we're going to do it, you wouldn't take such a sketchy deal and neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn't add up.""This has not been Mr. Oil, or Mr. Gas, or Mr. Coal. Talk to the people that are working in those industries. I was in coal country. People grabbed my arms and said, 'Please save my job.' ... Let's take advantage of the energy resources we have, as well as the energy sources for the future."
Quote III
"George Bush didn't propose turning Medicare into a voucher. ... He didn't call for self-deportation. George Bush never suggested that we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.""President Bush and I are different people and these are different times ... I'll crack down on China. President Bush didn't. ... I'm going to get us to a balanced budget. President Bush didn't."
Best moment
Stridently returning fire on Romney's criticism of the attacks in Libya, taking responsibility but also noting that the day after the attacks he reffered to "acts of terror" — a point moderator Candy Crowley interjected to say was correct.Constantly reminding viewers how poor the U.S. economy has been to millions of Americans, including college graduates and women, key voting groups. "We don't have to live like this," he said. "We can get this economy going again."
Biggest misstep
Coming on too strong? The president was eager to show himself as aggressive and engaged but that likely turned off some viewers.Looked too eager in questioning Obama on energy permits and overall seemed to be taken aback by the more aggressive Obama.
Rating the performance
This was a far different Barack Obama than the Oct. 3 debate in Denver. He went after Romney in the opening minutes, criticizing him on the auto bailout and on energy policy. He attacked, often suggesting Romney was untruthful, but was also at ease. Obama had the edge in round 2.Romney was not dominant like he was Denver and sometimes looked annoyed by Obama's toughness. But he did not cave, arguing again about the poor economy and the higher national debt and again making an appeal to the middle class.

Breaking down the second presidential debate 10/16/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:11am]

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