18 Oct 2012

Obama lifts game but Romney holds own in debate

5:32 am on 18 October 2012

US president Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney have clashed sharply in their second debate of the presidential election campaign.

A fired-up Mr Obama - widely seen as having lost the first debate earlier in October - came out swinging in front of an audience of undecided voters.

But the former Massachusetts governor fought back aggressively, accusing his rival of a litany of failed promises and having a poor record to defend.

Both men roamed the stage at the town-hall-style debate, circling and frequently interrupting each other. They interrupted one another several times and Mr Obama repeatedly accused his rival of not telling the truth.

The 90-minute debate at Hofstra University on Long Island was moderated by CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, who sought to fact-check and occasionally interrupt the candidates.

Candidates trade lists

Mr Obama was much more assertive than during their first debate, the BBC reports, but Mr Romney more than held his own.

Answering a question from one voter, Mr Obama ticked off a laundry list of achievements over the past four years, saying he had cut taxes for the middle class, ended the war in Iraq, targeted al-Qaeda's leadership and killed Osama Bin Laden, saved the automobile industry and introduced his signature healthcare reform.

But Mr Romney said the past four years had not been as rosy as the president would like to portray and went through his own list. He said the president had pledged to deliver unemployment of 5.4%, an immigration plan and a deficit reduced by half but had met none of those promises.

The two men will meet for one final pre-election debate on 22 October; election day is 6 November.