WATCH THE DEBATE AGAIN (at left)
FACT CHECK: Fudging Facts On Libya, Terrorism & Taxes
POLL: Who Won with Undecideds
BODY LANGUAGE and other related stories
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Buffalo State Prof. Bruce Bryski
in-studio & in-depth
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On The WBEN Liveline
Tim Mak, Politico.com &
Dan Raviv, CBS News, Washington
A WBEN "Text Poll" taken immediately following the debate had Governor Mitt Romney in the winner's circle. It was Romney 135. President Obama scored 13 votes
Erie Co. Exec Mark Poloncarz
GOP Analyst Carl Calabrese
CBS Poll: Obama edges Romney with undecided voters in second debate President Obama edged Mitt Romney for a win in the second presidential debate Tuesday night, 37 percent of uncommitted voters said in a CBS News instant poll
Moments following the debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., 37 percent of voters polled said the president won, 30 percent awarded the victory to Romney, and 33 percent called it a tie. After some particularly animated exchanges between the two candidates, 55 percent of voters said Mr. Obama gave direct answers, but 49 percent also said that about Romney. (more below)
CNN Poll: Obama Won Overall But Romney Still Rules the Economy.
From CNN: " Forty-six percent of voters who watched Tuesday night's presidential debate said that the president won the showdown, according to a CNN/ORC International nationwide poll conducted right after Tuesday night's faceoff...
But the poll also indicates that debate watchers said Romney would do a better job on economic issues. And the two candidates were tied on an important measure - whether the showdown would affect how the debate watchers will vote. Nearly half said the debate did not make them more likely to vote for either candidate, with the other half evenly divided between both men and women"
READ MORE from CNN
Before the debate, 71 percent said they believed Romney would, while only 27 percent said they thought Obama would; after the debate, 34 percent said the president would better handle the economy, with 65 percent saying Romney would.
Obama would also be more likely to help the middle class, according to 56 percent of voters after the debate, compared with 43 percent who said that about Romney.
The survey polled 525 voters who are undecided or who may still change their minds. Most of these uncommitted voters are not affiliated with a political party: 56 percent describe themselves as politically independent, 21 percent identify as Republicans, and 23 percent are Democrats.
In a similar poll taken immediately following the first presidential debate, uncommitted voters agreed 2-to-1 that Romney was the winner.
This CBS News poll was conducted online using GfK's web-enabled KnowledgePanel(r), a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 525 uncommitted voters who have agreed to watch the debate. Uncommitted voters are those who don't yet know who they will vote for, or who have chosen a candidate but may still change their minds.
GfK's KnowledgePanel participants are initially chosen scientifically by a random selection of telephone numbers and residential addresses. Persons in selected households are then invited by telephone or by mail to participate in the web-enabled KnowledgePanel(r). For those who agree to participate, but do not already have Internet access, GfK provides at no cost a laptop and ISP connection.
This is a scientifically representative poll of uncommitted voters' reaction to the presidential debate. The margin of sampling error could be plus or minus 4 percentage points for results based on the entire sample.
|Maybe it's a cliché to say the gloves came off in Tuesday's presidential debate. But then again, maybe not, since the candidates sometimes looked like they were actually about to start boxing.|
|Two alphas in the fight of their lives, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney sparred with passion and grit in a debate that previewed the closing arguments of a campaign that keeps circling back to bedrock questions about which candidate can do more to strengthen the fragile economy.|
|President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney teed up the last three weeks of the presidential election as a question of which man voters can trust to improve the economy.|
|Larry King, the celebrated talk show host accustomed to A-list interview guests, has agreed to moderate a debate featuring a squad of minor-party presidential candidates.|
|Move over Big Bird, these binders are full of women.|
|Candy Crowley's signature moment as moderator of Tuesday's rough-and-tumble presidential debate came when she was called upon to referee a dispute over President Barack Obama's description of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya as an act of terror.|
|At the University of Cincinnati, 200 students were expected to turn out to watch the second debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.|
|Highlights from the presidential debate Tuesday night between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, just three weeks from the Nov. 6 election.|
|Fighting for his political life, President Barack Obama re-emerged in blistering form in an interruption-filled debate rematch, trying to diminish Mitt Romney's rising stature by accusing him of dishonesty and extremism.|
|Most voters watching the debate from home didn't get to see what happened before and after President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney went on stage Tuesday. Even then, some exchanges were lost on television.|
|President Barack Obama assumed responsibility Tuesday for the deadly terror attack in Libya last month that killed four Americans just hours after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought to shoulder the blame for any mistakes the administration made.|
|They ranged from a 20-year-old student to a mother of college-aged children. And they were anxious about jobs, gas prices and fixing the nation's broken immigration system.|
|An aggressive President Barack Obama scrapped with Republican Mitt Romney over terrorism, jobs, immigration and women's issues in a feisty second presidential debate. A look at what they said:|
|During the first debate, President Barack Obama never mentioned Mitt Romney's videotaped remarks that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on the government. This time it was his closing argument.|
|President Barack Obama is calling for reintroducing legislation to ban assault weapons.|
|President Barack Obama says the responsibility for what happened at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, falls to him and to no one else. Republican rival Mitt Romney says the president's team either didn't know all the details - or didn't tell the truth - about the death of four Americans there immediately after the attacks.|
|President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are clashing over immigration, with Romney accusing Obama of failing to reform the immigration system during his first term.|
|President Barack Obama is ticking through promises kept as having halted the economic slide but is pledging to go hard after those campaign pledges from 2008 that he has not met.|
|Mitt Romney says he differs from fellow Republican George W. Bush on energy policy, China and deficits. President Barack Obama says the biggest difference is that his GOP rival is more extreme on social issues than Bush.|
In the rough-and-tumble of a town hall-style presidential debate, the facts took something of a beating Tuesday night. Mitt Romney wrongly claimed that it took 14 days for President Barack Obama to brand the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya a terrorist act. Obama yet again claimed that ending the Afghanistan and Iraq wars makes money available to "rebuild America," even though it doesn't.
On Libya And Terrorism
OBAMA: The day after last month's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, "I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people and 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."
ROMNEY: "I want to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror."
OBAMA: "Get the transcript."
THE FACTS: Obama is correct in saying that he referred to Benghazi as an act of terrorism on Sept. 12, the day after the attack. From the Rose Garden, he said: "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. ... We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act."
But others in his administration repeated for several days its belief that the violence stemmed from protests over an American-made video ridiculing Islam. It took almost a month before officials acknowledged that those protests never occurred. And Romney is right in arguing that the administration has yet to explain why it took so long for that correction to be made or how it came to believe that the attack evolved from an angry demonstration.
On Oil Drilling
ROMNEY: "As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands and in federal waters."
OBAMA: "Very little of what Governor Romney just said is true. We've opened up public lands. We're actually drilling more on public lands than in the previous administration and my - the previous president was an oilman."
THE FACTS: Both statements ring true, as far as they go.
According to an Energy Department study published in the spring, sales of oil from federal areas fell 14 percent between 2010 and 2011 and sales of natural gas production fell 9 percent, supporting Romney's point. The lower oil production was a result mainly of a moratorium on offshore drilling imposed by the Obama administration after the April 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
According to the same report, though, oil production from federal areas is up 13 percent since Obama took office despite last year's dip, and analysts say Gulf oil production is expected to soon exceed its pre-spill levels.
Natural gas production from federal areas has been declining for years because drillers have found vast reserves of natural gas in formations under several states that are cheaper to access than most federally controlled areas.
OBAMA: "Let's take the money that we've been spending on war over the last decade to rebuild America, roads, bridges, schools. We do those things, not only is your future going to be bright, but America's future is going to be bright as well."
THE FACTS: What Obama didn't mention is that much of the money that has been paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was borrowed. In fact, the government borrows nearly 40 cents for every dollar it spends. Thus, using money that had been earmarked for wars to build schools and infrastructure would involve even more borrowing, adding to the federal deficit.
OBAMA: "For young people who've come here, brought here oftentimes by their parents, have gone to school here, pledged allegiance to the flag, think of this as their country and understand themselves as Americans in every way except having papers, we should make sure we give them a pathway to citizenship. And that's what I've done administratively."
THE FACTS: His administrative actions do not provide a pathway to citizenship. The administration is allowing as many as 1.7 million young illegal immigrants to apply to avoid deportation for up to two years and get a work permit. And the government has begun a policy of prosecutorial discretion under which illegal immigrants with longstanding ties to the U.S. and no criminal history are generally not arrested and deported by immigration authorities. But these steps do not extend legal status or a process resulting in citizenship.
On The Auto Industry
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. So when you say that I wanted to take the auto industry bankrupt, you actually did. And I think it's important to know that that was a process that was necessary to get those companies back on their feet, so they could start hiring more people. That was precisely what I recommended and ultimately what happened."
THE FACTS: What Romney recommended did not happen, and his proposed path probably would have forced General Motors and Chrysler out of business. He opposed using government money to bail out the automakers, instead favoring privately financed bankruptcy restructuring. But the automakers were bleeding cash and were poor credit risks. The banking system was in crisis. So private loans weren't available. Without government aid, both companies probably would have gone under and their assets would have been sold in pieces.
THE FACTS: As he has done before, Obama is cherry-picking his numbers to make them sound better than they really are. He ignores the fact that public-sector job losses have dragged down overall job creation. Also, he chooses just to mention the past 30 months. That ignores job losses during his presidency up until that point. According to the Labor Department, about 4.5 million total jobs have been created over the past 30 months. But some 4.3 million jobs were lost during the earlier months of his administration. At this point, Obama is a net job creator, but only marginally.
On The President's Tax Reform
OBAMA: "What I've also said is, for (those earning) above $250,000, we can go back to the tax rates we had when Bill Clinton was president."
THE FACTS: Not exactly. The Bush tax cuts set the top income rate at 35 percent. Under Obama's proposal to raise taxes on households earning more than $250,000, the president would return the top rate to the 39.6 percent set during the Clinton administration. But he neglected to mention that his health care law includes a new 0.9 percent Medicare surcharge on households earning over that amount - and that tax would be retained. The health care law also imposes a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for high earners. So tax rates would be higher for the wealthiest Americans than they were under Clinton.
ROMNEY: "A recent study has shown that people in the middle class will see $4,000 a year in higher taxes as a result of the spending and borrowing of this administration."
THE FACTS: Romney's claim is based on an analysis by the conservative American Enterprise Institute that examines the amount of debt that has accumulated on Obama's watch and in a potential second term and computes how much it would cost to finance that debt through tax increases. Annual deficits under Obama have exceeded $1 trillion for each year of his term.
However, Obama is not responsible for all of the deficits that have occurred on his watch. Most of the federal budget - like Medicare, food stamps, Medicaid and Social Security - runs on autopilot, and no one in a leadership position in Washington has proposed deep cuts in those programs. And politicians in both parties voted two years ago to renew Bush-era tax cuts that have contributed to the deficit. Even under the strict spending cuts proposed by Romney, the debt would continue to rise, just not as quickly.
On Romney's Tax Plan
ROMNEY: "I'm going to bring rates down across the board for everybody, but I'm going to limit deductions and exemptions and credits, particularly for people at the high end, because I am not going to have people at the high end pay less than they're paying now."
THE FACTS: Romney is proposing to cut all income tax rates by 20 percent, eliminate the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax, maintain and expand tax breaks for investment income, and do it all without adding to the deficit or shifting the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class. He says he would pay for the tax cuts by reducing or eliminating tax deductions, exemptions and credits, but he can't achieve all of his goals under the budget rules presidents must follow.
The Tax Policy Center, a Washington research group, says in a study that the tax cuts proposed by Romney would reduce federal tax revenues by about $5 trillion over 10 years. The study concludes that there aren't enough tax breaks for the wealthy to make up the lost revenue, so the proposal would either add to the deficit or shift more of the tax burden onto the middle class.
Romney's campaign cites studies by conservative academics and think tanks that say Romney's plan will spur economic growth, generating enough additional money to pay for the tax cuts without adding to the deficit or shifting the tax burden to the middle class. But Congress doesn't recognize those kinds of economic projections when it estimates the budget impact of tax proposals.
On Gasoline Prices & Energy
ROMNEY: "The proof of whether a strategy is working or not is what the price is that you're paying at the pump. If you're paying less than you paid a year or two ago, why, then, the strategy is working. But you're paying more. When the president took office, the price of gasoline here in Nassau County was about $1.86 a gallon. Now, it's $4 a gallon. The price of electricity is up. If the president's energy policies are working, you're going to see the cost of energy come down."
THE FACTS: Presidents have almost no effect on energy prices; most are set on financial exchanges around the world. When Obama took office, the world was in the grip of a financial crisis and crude prices - and gasoline prices along with them - had plummeted because world demand had collapsed. Crude oil prices have since risen even as U.S. oil production has soared in recent years because global demand is reaching new heights as the developing economies of Asia use more oil.
Other energy prices have fallen during Obama's term. Electricity prices, when adjusted for inflation, are down, and homeowners are finding it much cheaper to heat their homes with natural gas. That's because natural gas production has surged, reducing prices both for homeowners and for utilities that burn gas to generate electricity.