At 9pm EST President Obama will take the stage at Hofstra University alongside Republican rival Mitt Romney to face off over a wide range of subjects. The debate will feature discussions related to foreign policy as well as domestic issues, and will likely include questions relating to Iran, Israel and the recent terrorist attack in Libya.
In this debate the President is playing catch up after his last performance on Oct 3rd which was widely considered a substantial loss for Obama catapulting his rival forward in the polls. Campaign surrogates have promised a more spirited attempt from the President this time round, setting higher expectations.
In today’s Algemeiner IBD/TIPP Daily Jewish Vote Aggregate Average Tracking Poll Obama’s numbers rose 1.5 percentage points to reach 49.5%, while Mitt Romney’s total increased by 0.1 percent to 39.2%, with both candidates making inroads with the undecided crowd bringing it down to 11.1% from 12.7% yesterday.
Both candidates have also raised objections to the debate moderator CNN’s Candy Crowley, after she apparently pledged not to stick to prior rules agreed upon with the debaters.
WRAP: Obama was much sharper this time, a big step up from his last performance. Starting from zero, Romney would have won, but the contrast between Obama’s last performance and this one made him look better. Romney wins on substance and Obama on perception. Race remains as tight as ever. Both candidates fought strongly for the middle ground.
10:40 – Candidates embrace their wives, Michelle Obama and Ann Romney are wearing the same color.
10:37 – Obama clarifies that he believes in the free economy, but wants to give everyone a chance.
10:36 – “The President said he would, he didn’t,” says Romney, summing up his general line of attack in this debate.
10:34 – Barry Green (also Jewish?) asks next question. “What is the biggest mis-perception about you?,” he asks. “I care about 100% of the American people,” responds Romney.
10:33 – Romney calls for level playing field in global trade.
10:29 – Obama claims that Romney policies will send more jobs overseas. “We are on pace to double our exports,” says Obama.
10:26 - Carol Goldberg (another Jewish lady?) asking a question about jobs going offshore. “It is not about trickle down government” says Romney, “I want to make America the most attractive country in the world for entrepreneurs.”
10:23 – Obama accuses Romney of flip-flopping on gun issues.
10:20 – Question about gun control. Obama talks about preemptive efforts. Romney calls for education and strong family culture to stem “violent culture” in this country. Now going after “fast and furious.” Romney calls for answers.
10:16 – The candidates spar over Libya.
10:12 – Romney slams Obama for political fundraising in the aftermath of the September 11 attack on the Libyan embassy. “The President said he was going to put daylight between us and Israel, Iran is four years closer to the bomb,” accuses Romney. “This strategy is unraveling right before our eyes,” he concludes.
10:11 - Obama says when it comes to foreign policy he means what he says.
10:08 – Questioner asks about Libya. “Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?” he asks.
10:06 – Romney defends his foreign investments saying that they are kept in a blind trust tells the President that his pension also includes foreign investments.
10:02 – Obama slams Romney’s “self deportation” idea, brought up during the Republican primary.
9:58 – Romney on immigration: “I think we should give Green Cards to people with the skills that we need.” He says that the kids of people that came here illegally should have a pathway to become citizens.
9:53 – “I think you know that these last four years haven’t been as good as the President just described,” Romney tells the questioner, listing Obama’s failings. “The number of people who are looking for work is still 23 million people,” Romney says, slamming Obama’s economic policies in detail. Reagan’s recovery created twice as many jobs as this recovery has, says Romney.
9:52 – Audience member asks Obama what he has done to earn his vote. Obama is listing his accomplishments.
9:48 – Romney says that the deficit is one of the major differences between him and Bush. Obama working hard to connect them to each other. There are more differences between Romney and Bush, Obama says, accusing Romney of being more extreme on social issues.
9:45 – Undecided voter named Mrs. Katz (Jewish?) asks Mr. Romney how he is different to George Bush as they are both Republicans. Romney opens by denying Obama’s accusations on his positions on women’s issues.
9:43 – Obama draws health issues into economic discussion says the two are linked. “These are not just women’s issues, these are family issues, these are economic issues,” he says.
9:40 – Romney talks about his record in employing women. In the last four years women have lost 580,000 jobs and 3.5 million women are in poverty he says. Romney says he will help women by strengthening the economy.
9:36 – Next question is about inequality in the workplace. How can women earn equal pay?
9:35 – Romney touts his record in balancing budgets, slams Obama’s last four years, denies Obama’s accusations. “If the President was re-elected we would reach $20 trillion in debt,” says Romney.
9:33 – Obama brings up Romney’s personal wealth and tax rate, accuses Romney of presenting a “sketchy deal,” with his fiscal promises, and not explaining how he will pay for things.
9:31 – Romney touts his 5 point plan. “I know why jobs come and why they go,” says Romney, “I have spent my life in the private sector.”
9:29 – Obama says Romney’s top down economics won’t work.
9:27 – Obama outlines his tax philosophy, says he cut taxes for small businesses and middle class families. Calls for greater taxes on the wealthy, blames Republicans in congress for not allowing tax legislation to pass.
9:25 – No capital gains tax for middle class promises Romney.
9:23 – Subject moves to tax, questioner asks about which tax credits Romney would eliminate. Romney says he wants to simplify the gas code. “The middle income families in America have been crushed over the last four years,” he says,
9:21 – Obama is linking Romney to Bush years, downplays relevance of Keystone Pipeline, saying we have built enough pipeline to go around the world.
9:18 – Direct confrontation now between Romney and Obama, Romney asks about oil production, Obama diverts, attempts to interrupt and Romney stands his ground.
9:17 – Obama accuses Romney of saying things that are “not true” for the second time.
9:14 - “I was in coal country and people grabbed my arm and said, please, save my job,” Romney says, promising energy independence and slamming Obama’s obstructions to the oil, gas and coal industries.
9:13 – Obama pushes efficient energy, attacking Romney again, “basically his plan is to let the oil companies write the energy policies,” he says. Romney comes back “let’s look at the President’s policies instead of his rhetoric,” he says.
9:10 – Obama is on the attack responding to Mitt Romney’s promise to create 12 million jobs in four years. He seems sharper and crisper than last time. Accuses Romney of having a “1 point plan” to make sure the rich can play by different rules.
9:07 – Obama responds drawing on a number of items including energy and the debt, promising to make sure that all students can afford college.
9:03 – First question is from a college student who asks Mitt Romney about how he can be certain to find employment upon graduating. Romney turns straight to jobs “I know what it takes to make sure you have the kind of opportunity you deserve,” he says.
9:01 – Crowley lays out terms of debate. Gallup selected a group of uncommitted voters from New York area to ask the questions in the town-hall style debate.
8:55 – Commission on Presidential Debates Director on the mike. Moderator Candy Crowley is welcomed.