Obama, Romney Face Off
on Economy, Energy and Foreign Policy
October 17, 2012
U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney
squared off on the economy, energy and foreign policy during their
second debate of the campaign, taking questions from undecided voters
during a town hall-style meeting at New York's Hofstra University.
Romney attacked the president's record of the last four years, saying he
had "doubled" the deficit and did not accomplish what he said he would
"He said that by now we'd have unemployment at 5.4 percent. The
difference between where it is and 5.4 percent is 9 million Americans
without work. I wasn't the one that said 5.4 percent. This was the
president's plan - didn't get there. He said he would have by now put
forward a plan to reform Medicare and Social Security because he pointed
out they're on the road to bankruptcy. He would reform them. He'd get
that done. He hasn't even made a proposal on either one," he said.
The president fired back, saying he has kept most of his commitments,
and he vowed that the ones he has not kept were not for "a lack of
"Four years ago I told the American people, and I told you, I would cut
taxes for middle class families, and I did. I told you I'd cut taxes on
small businesses and I have. I said I would end the war in Iraq, and I
did. I said that we would refocus attention on those who actually
attacked us on 9-11, and we have gone after al-Qaida's leadership like
never before and Osama bin Laden is dead," he said.
The two also battled over plans to pull the U.S. out of its economic
slump in the next four years. Obama told Romney his plan to keep tax
cuts for the wealthy will hurt the economy.
somebody came to you, governor, with a plan that said, 'Here I want to
spend $7 or $8 trillion, and we're going to pay for it but we can't to
tell you how until after the election how we're going to do it,' you
wouldn't have taken such a sketchy deal, and neither should you, the
American people, because the math doesn't add up," he said.
However, Romney said his own tax plan would lead to job growth and a
"Of course they add up. I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years
and balanced the budget," he said. "I ran the Olympics and balanced the
budget. I ran the state of Massachusetts as a governor, to the extent
any governor does, and balanced the budget all four years. When we're
talking about math that doesn't add up, how about $4 trillion of
The two presidential contenders also focused on immigration, the attack
on the Libyan consulate, and the country's energy policy.
The governor said he would not grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. He
said he wants the system for legal immigration to be streamlined so that
a would-be immigrant would not need a lawyer to emigrate, and he called
for more green cards for skilled workers.
The president responded he has done everything he can to fix the
immigration system for those trying to come to the country legally. He
also said he does not want to go after students who have lived in the
country for years or people who came to the United States just to feed
On Libya, Romney accused the president of taking two weeks to tell the
American people that the attack on the consulate that killed the U.S.
ambassador and three others was an act of terrorism. He also said the
president continued on the campaign trail rather than focusing on the
September 11 attack.
The president said he called the Benghazi attack an act of terrorism on
the following day. He said the suggestion that anyone in his government
would use the violence in Libya to play politics or mislead the American
people is offensive.
Romney said oil and gas production on federal land is down because of
fewer permits granted by the Obama administration. The president denied
this and said permit holders were not taking the opportunities to drill.
He accused Romney of planning to let oil companies write U.S. energy
Analysts say Romney delivered the stronger performance in their first
debate earlier this month.
In what appears to be a result of the first debate, the latest USA
Today/Gallop poll released Monday shows the former Massachusetts
governor leading President Obama by four percentage points among likely
voters in the nation's top 12 battleground states.
The survey found the Republican nominee has pulled within one point of
Obama among women who are likely voters. He is leading the president by
eight points among men likely to vote in those swing states.