President Obama accused Mr Romney of attempting to sell voters a “sketchy deal”, devoid of economic policy detail, that he would never have accepted in his former career as a risky capitalist. “And neither should you, the American people,” he continued, “because the math doesn’t add up”.
Moving to regain lost ground after a weak performance in the first presidential debate, Obama fought back against his rival’s accusations that he had played down the September 11 assault by Islamist militants in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
In response the president had just reminded the audience that on the day after the attack, he called it an act of terror and promised to bring justice to the attackers. Obama also handed his opponent a huge opportunity by conceding for the first time that he took full responsibility for the attacks that took place on the anniversary of Sept. 11.
But Romney chose not to press Obama on a perceived intelligence failure that caused the attack — something the administration has struggled to explain — but instead challenged the president on semantics.
On the whole, Obama was very different from the one who barely showed up for the first debate. “Very little of what Governor Romney just said is true,” Obama said early in the debate.
During the first debate, Obama looked down at his notes or his shoes while Romney spoke. But tonight, he turned away from the audience early to agressively face Romney while directly attacking him.
It was one of the few moments in the debate that put the spotlight on health issues that gave Obama the chance to claim that his opponent’s health policies were outside the mainstream.
As Reuters reports, Obama also criticized Romney for women’s health issues by targeting the Republican’s pledge to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, the women’s health network targeted by anti-abortion activists because abortions are among the health services it provides.
But Democrats say Obama’s policies have extended the life of Medicare’s hospital trust fund, which helps pay for hospital benefits, and that his healthcare law seeks efficiencies to improve care and control program costs.
The next topic for the debate was taxes. A former Massachusetts governor Romney defended his proposal to slash all Americans’ tax rates by 20 percent. What is more, he asserted that the top 5 percent wealthiest Americans would continue to pay 60 percent of all federal income taxes.
According to Reuters, Obama resurrected his charge that the economic proposals put forward by the former private equity executive were designed to protect and bolster the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
Obama strongly criticized Romney’s tax plans, explaining that it favors the rich.
“When he said behind closed doors that 47 percent of the country considered themselves victims, who refuse personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about,” Obama said Tuesday, noting many in that group who are the elderly, veterans and students.
Obama went on attacking Mr Romney’s much-vaunted “five-point plan” for the economy as a retread of George W. Bush’s “failed” policies that would cost the US $5 trillion (£3.1 trillion). Moreover, he used Mr Romney’s controversial business career to paint him as a friend only to the wealthy elite.
The next debate is to be in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday evening. So, people see a person one week ago and they see a different person tonight, and they wonder, what’s next?
“Romney wins the 1st debate. Obama wins tonight by a closer margin. The Thrilla in Boca may decide it all.,” tweeted Joe Scarborough.