HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — President Barack Obama saved face tonight, as he came out much stronger and more forceful in the second clash with Republican rival Mitt Romney here tonight.
Check out the recap of our live blog below.
8:32 PM | Cute photo alert!
Here’s a cute photo of Mitt and Ann Romney on the way to the debate, per Romney aide Garrett Jackson on Twitter:
8:36 PM | Mitt and family backstage…
Via Matt Romney on Twitter, the family hangs out backstage before the debate:
8:54 PM | 5 minutes…
Candy Crowley introduced. She reminds everyone to turn everything off and not interrupt during the debate.
8:56 PM | Couldn’t help but notice the bipartisanship…
Michelle Obama and Ann Romney were both wearing magenta when intro’d.
9:04 PM | Romney, getting ready to take the stage.
Via Garrett Jackson on Twitter, again:
9:05 PM | First question comes from a 20-year-old college student named Jeremy.
He asks how the candidates can assure him — and, more importantly, his parents — how he will be able to get a job after college.
Romney: “I know what it takes to create good jobs again. … It’s not going to be like the last four years.” He promises him in 2014 when he graduates that he will have a job if he’s president.
Obama hits back by saying that Jeremy has a “bright future.” Your college education, he says, is important to the country. “I want everybody to get a great education,” Obama says.
Obama makes sure to pinpoint the auto industry bailout, which he decided to enact as Romney wrote a much-publicized op-ed advocating a “managed bankruptcy…”
9:09 PM | CHAD OCHOCINCO: ‘Good answer, Mitt’
9:11 PM | Obama to Romney: What you said “just isn’t true.”
Obama already seems a lot sharper in the early stages of this debate than he ever was last time. He hit Romney for pushing back on the auto industry argument by telling him that what he said “just isn’t true.”
“Gov. Romney doesn’t have a 5-point plan, he has a 1-point plan,” Obama said. “Make sure folks at the top play by different rules.”
9:14 PM | Obama, Romney clash on energy.
Obama: “Gov. Romney says he has an all of the above plan.” But, Obama says, the Romney plan is to let oil companies “write their own energy policies.”
9:17 PM | Romney: “This has not been Mr. Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal…”
Romney fires back on energy.
“How in the world the president said no to that pipeline I will never know,” he says of the Keystone Pipeline.
9:18 PM | Obama’s theme tonight: What Romney says “just isn’t true.”
He fires off the line again while hitting back on coal energy.
“Very little of what Gov. Romney said is true,” Obama said.
9:20 PM | Obama and Romney have a very heated moment…
It’s starting to get interesting.
Heard a few audible gasps in the press room.
9:23 PM | Romney spars with Candy Crowley…
Crowley tries to move on, but Romney stops her. “Actually, he got the question so I get the last answer.”
His last answer: “I appreciate wind jobs.”
Again, a few audible gasps in the press room.
9:25 PM | Questioner has a Rick Perry moment.
“Oops,” she says, forgetting part of the question.
“You’re doing great,” Obama says, which elicits laughter in the press room.
9:27 PM | For Romney, few specifics about his tax plan.
Basically, Romney says want middle-income taxpayers to have lower taxes. Repeats the theme that middle-class families have been crushed over the past four years. But also repeats the theme of fairly few specifics in his tax plan.
9:29 PM | What Obama is referring to when he says Romney wanted to gut a coal plant…
This, when Romney said it “killed people.”
9:32 PM | The audience also audibly gasped at that tense moment.
From the pool report:
Not sure if it picked up on TV, but there was an audible gasp from the audience when Romney said “you’ll get your chance in a moment” to POTUS.
And minutes later, many in the audience laughed after Obama said “you’ll be back in the same mess” and again after Romney disputed the rules and Crowley said “it doesn’t quite work like that.”
9:34 PM | Obama mentions Big Bird!
Talking about Romney’s “sketchy” plan to reduce the deficit: “We haven’t heard any specifics beyond Big Bird…”
The press room sort of mockingly laughed.
9:37 PM | The press room can’t believe Romney’s back-and-forth with Candy Crowley…
Lots of “oooohh”-ing at another moment when Crowley tries to move on to another question and Romney stops her.
9:39 PM | Next question is on gender equality in the workplace.
Obama, of course, loves that question.
“That’s a great question,” he says.
Press room gets a hearty laugh.
Romney has a somewhat shaky response when talking about his search to add women in his Cabinet as Governor of Massachusetts. There’s this quote: “Can’t we find some women that are also qualified?”
9:44 PM | Immediate response on the gender equality question from the Obama campaign.
9:48 PM | Two questions in a row that Obama is absolutely ecstatic about…
Questioner says she’s disappointed in the last four years, but also disappointed with the Bush years. She asks Romney, how would you be different than Bush?
Romney: “President Bush and I are different people and these are different times.”
Obama: “In some ways, he’s gone to a more extreme position on social policy.” Obama is actually praising Bush, which is really, really something.
9:55 PM | Question from 2008 Obama voter who’s not as enthusiastic anymore…
The questioner, Mike Jones, basically asks Obama why he should vote for him again.
Obama admits that “we’ve gone through a tough four years.”
“Osama bin Laden is dead. Insurance companies can’t jerk you around. We saved an auto industry on brink of collapse,” Obama says.
Romney responds: “I think you know these last four years haven’t been as good as the president described.”
10:00 PM | Didn’t catch that questioner’s name.
Lorraine, was it?
Both candidates flib her very, very easy name before addressing her question on immigration. On this one, too, Obama seems a bit more comfortable because he can talk about his recent administration policy shift to provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrant children brought here.
10:07 PM | Obama with the zinger of the night, so far.
“I don’t look at my pension, it’s not as big as yours.”
It got a big, sweeping “ooh” reaction in the press room.
10:09 PM | Libya question!
Obama basically sidesteps the question, using much of the same argument Hillary Clinton did in taking the blame last night.
“When folks mess with Americans, we go after them,” he says. He also hits Romney for his statement the night of the attack.
“You don’t turn national security into a political issue, certainly not right when it’s happening,” Obama says. “…I’m the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home.”
Romney hits back, slamming Obama for participating in a fundraiser the day of the attack and for causing confusion about what prompted the attack.
“This calls into question the president’s whole policy in the Middle East,” Romney says.
10:14 PM | OBAMA: “I’m responsible for Libya”
Crowley asks a follow-up question about whether Hillary Clinton is to blame for Libya.
“The suggestion that anybody on my team … would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own is offensive. That’s not we do. That’s not what I do as president. That’s not what I do as commander in chief,” Obama says.
10:20 PM | Yes, Obama did call Libya an “act of terror” the day after it happened.
10:25 PM | Question on gun control…
Questioner asks about the expired assault weapons ban and if the candidates would seek to reinstate it.
Obama says he would like to keep these types of dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals. Romney says he would not seek anything in the way of new legislation.
10:37 PM | Did Mitt Romney just bring up the ’47 percent’ himself?
In his closing statement, Romney brings up the fact that he “cares for 100 percent of the American people.”
10:38 PM | THE KICKER: Obama brings up the 47 percent.
Obama: “I believe in self reliance and individual initiative.”
“I believe when he said behind closed doors that 47% of the country considers themselves victims … think about who he was talking about,” Obama said.