Candidates struggle for undecided voters

The president and his Republican challenger battled over domestic and foreign policy Tuesday night in an attempt to sway undecided voters.

President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney challenged each other on a variety of topics in the second presidential debate.

Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., hosted the contest, which gave undecided voters the opportunity to ask questions in a traditional town hall format.

Candy Crowley, CNN chief political correspondent, moderated the sometimes heated Tuesday night debate.

From the start, Obama accused Romney of favoring the rich and challenged him on his economic and energy policies. The governor presented a different plan every time he spoke, he said.

Romney countered, saying the president’s policies had failed to fix the economy and his energy policy had only worsened the nation’s ever-rising debt.

The candidates disagreed on taxes, immigration, deficit reduction measures, energy production and women’s equality.

Romney told the audience if they voted for Obama they knew what would happen.

“You’ll get a repeat of the last four years,” he said. “Obama is a great speaker, but, in effect, is a failure as a president in delivering prosperity for the middle class.”

He said the president’s No. 1 issue – an economy in fast decline – was present when he entered the White House and the Democratic president had only made things worse.

The two briefly discussed Obama’s immediate response to the terrorist attack on a U.S. ambassador and three American diplomats in Libya. Romney said Obama had confused Americans about the nature of the attack.

Obama said there was no confusion in what he said the day after the attack.

“The suggestion that anybody on my team, the secretary of State, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team, would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own is offensive, governor,” Obama said. “The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people in the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror, and I also said that we’re going to hunt down those who committed this crime.”

Crowley said transcripts proved Obama’s response was accurate.

The candidate’s final question challenged them to clear their names and explain to the American people who they really are.

Romney said much of Obama’s campaign had focused on attacking his personal interests

“If I become president, I’ll get America working again,” he said. “I will get us on track to a balanced budget. The president hasn’t. I will.”

Obama said he did not believe it was the government that was solely responsible for creating jobs. He said he believed self-reliance and individual initiative, combined with the free enterprise system, was the answer to the economy’s downfall.

Obama said the 47 percent of Americans, who Romney has said consider themselves victims that refuse personal responsibility, are actually hardworking people.

They include those on social security, veterans, students, current soldiers and people who are working every day, he said.

“I want to fight for them,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been doing for the last four years, because if they succeed, I believe the country succeeds.

The final presidential debate will take place at 8 p.m. Monday night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fl. Election day is Nov. 6. The traditional format will feature international affairs.

 Staff Report