Obama and Romney clash in second Presidential debate
US President Barack Obama has hit out at Republican candidate Mitt Romney during the second of three pre-election presidential debates.
After a lackluster performance in the first debate, President Obama came out fighting for the debate in New York. The debate covered the economy, tax, and foreign policy.
Battling for his second term in the oval office, the Democratic president has been trying to hold on to his lead in the polls since his loss in the first debate. His lead in the swing states has been dwindling since Romney's debate victory, and so last night's clash was particularly important to the president.
In the town hall-style forum at Hofstra University on Long Island, both men took questions from an audience of 80 undecided voters; circling, interrupting and at times heckling one another.
The two candidates conflicted on plans for job creation, with Mr Romney saying that fewer Americans were in work now than when President Obama took office.
"We have not made the progress we need to make to put people back to work," he said.
"I want to make small businesses grow and thrive. I know how to make that happen."
In response, Mr Obama attacked his opponent's five-point plan for economic growth, accusing Mr Romney of taking inconsistent positions.
"He doesn't have a five-point plan, he has a one-point plan, and that is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules," Mr Obama said.
"That's been his philosophy in the private sector, that's been his philosophy as a governor, and that's been his philosophy as a presidential candidate."
Over taxes, the two were at loggerheads. President Obama said he had cut taxes for middle class families and small businesses over the last four years, but in order to reduce the defect the wealthy would have to pay a little bit more.
"Governor Romney and his allies in Congress have held the 98% hostage because they want tax breaks for the 2%," said Mr Obama.
Mr Obama reminded the audience that voters had seen no plan, or specifics for Mr Romney’s tax plan apart from eliminating Sesame Street's Big Bird and cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, a family planning organisation Republicans say promotes abortion.
One point during the debate prompted a flurry of activity social media.
Arguing that he supports equal opportunities for women, Mr Romney said he once had "binders full of women" candidates for cabinet jobs when he was Massachusetts governor. He said that in the economy we would implement businesses would be “anxious to hire women”.
One of the fiercest exchanges came over last month's attack on the US Libya consulate that left four Americans dead.
Mr Romney suggested that the Obama administration attempted to mislead Americans over whether it was a terrorist attack, to which the president responded by saying it was "offensive" to suggest that he had played politics on such a grave issue.
President Obama redeemed himself in this debate after losing the first debate to Governor Romney. He did what he had to by instilling some confidence in the undecided voters, and perhaps winning some over from Romney's base.
The polls will show the effects of the debate, before the two candidates meet again for the final debate in Florida on October 22.