Presidential candidates face off in their second debate out of three
With just 21 days until Election Day, President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney graced the stage earlier this week at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. for the second of their three debates.
The debate was moderated by CNN’s chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley.
Questions were then asked by 82 uncommitted voters that made up the audience.
The first question asked at the debate was one that all students can relate to: paying for college and getting a job after graduation.
“What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?” Jeremy Epstein, a 20-year-old uncommitted voter, asked.
“What’s happened over the past four years has been very, very hard for America’s young people,” Romney said. “I want you to be able to get that job. … I know what it takes to create good jobs again. I know what it takes to make sure that you have the kind of opportunity you deserve. And kids across this country are going to recognize, we’re bringing back an economy.”
Obama then responded to Epstein’s question. Obama said he wants create manufacturing jobs, bolster the education system and enhance our energy situation.
“And let’s take the money that we’ve been spending on war over the last decade to rebuild America: roads, bridges, schools,” Obama said. “We do those things, not only is your future going to be bright but America’s future is going to bright as well.”
Audience member Katherine Fenton then posed a question on a topic that has not been talked about much this election season.
“In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” Fenton asked.
“This is not just a women’s issue, this is a family issue, this is a middle-class issue, and that’s why we’ve got to fight for it,” Obama said. “But we’ve got to enforce the laws, which is what we are doing, and we’ve also got to make sure that in every walk of life we do not tolerate discrimination.”
Romney replied to Fenton’s question by noting that a healthy economy will help with discrimination of gender in the workplace.
“What we can do to help young women and women of all ages is to have a strong economy, so strong that employers that are looking to find good employees and bringing them into their workforce and adapting to a flexible work schedule that gives women opportunities that they would otherwise not be able to afford,” Romney said.
Audience member Kerry Ladka posed a question regarding the al-Qaida attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya and why they were denied the extra security.
The president took full responsibility for the deaths of the U.S. ambassadors and did not allow the blame to fall on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. I’m the president and I’m always responsible, and that’s why nobody’s more interested in finding out exactly what happened than I do,” Obama said. “The day after the attack, 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.”
Romney responded, saying that it took the president 14 days to state that what happened in Libya was an act of terror. Obama rebuked his claim and asked the moderator to fact check what the president had said in the Rose Garden. Crowley said that Obama did, in fact, state it was an act of terror.
The debate closed with a question from audience member Barry Green.
“What do you believe is the biggest misperception that the American people have about you as a man and a candidate? Using specific examples, can you take this opportunity to debunk that misperception and set us straight?” Green asked.
Romney responded first and discussed how he cares about the well being of all Americans.
“I understand that I can get this country on track again. We don’t have to settle for what we’re going through. We don’t have to settle for gasoline at four bucks. We don’t have to settle for unemployment at a chronically high level,” Romney said. “…We don’t have to settle for 23 million people struggling to find a good job.”
Next, Obama answered.
“Folks on Social Security who’ve worked all their lives,” the president said. “Veterans who’ve sacrificed for this country. Students who are out there trying to hopefully advance their own dreams, but also this country’s dreams. Soldiers who are overseas fighting for us right now. People who are working hard every day, paying payroll tax, gas taxes, but don’t make enough income. And I want to fight for them. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last four years. Because if they succeed, I believe the country succeeds.”
The next debate will be against the two presidential candidates Monday, Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. The debate will be similar to the first de