HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) - President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney squared off for the second time of three planned debates.
They appeared in Hempstead, New York, with undecided voters asking questions in a nationally televised town hall-style encounter exactly three weeks before Election Day.
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CNN's Candy Crowley moderated the debate; she directed audience members to ask questions, asked her own follow-up questions to answers and fact checked comments Romney and Obama made.
Obama, Romney offer jobs pitch at start of debate
Obama and Romney offered their jobs agenda at the start of the second presidential debate, responding to a college student concerned about finding a job after graduation.
Romney told the student that his question was one that's being asked by college student across the nation. He said his administration would try to make it easier for students to afford college and promote economic growth to help students.
Romney said the nation faces more debt and fewer jobs. He says, quote, "I'm going to change that."
Obama said he would build upon the 5 million private sector jobs created during his first term, pushing for more manufacturing jobs. The president said his policies aimed to improve the education system and promote a variety of energy sources.
Romney, Obama spar on energy policy
Romney criticized Obama's energies policies and said his rival "has not been Mr. Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal."
Obama said he wants U.S. energy policy to look ahead 20 or 30 years, and not just look at what lowers the cost right away. The president said he's all for oil and natural gas, but he said he will not focus on them exclusively at the peril of renewable energy sources that could create thousands of jobs.
Romney said Obama has fought new energy exploration on federal lands and that Americans have faced higher energy costs as a result.
Romney, Obama joust over tax plans and debt
Romney and Obama both said their tax plans would benefit the middle class and spur job creation, and both are suggesting their opponent's plan would do the opposite.
Romney said cutting tax rates across the board would spur job growth. He said bringing rates down makes it easy for small businesses to keep more of their capital and hire more workers.
But Obama, who supports raising tax rates on upper incomes, said Romney's proposed tax cuts and his calls for increased military spending would add trillions to the federal debt.
Obama said to Romney, a former businessman, quote, "You wouldn't have taken such a sketchy deal."
He says the American people shouldn't accept that deal either.
Obama, Romney court female voters during debate
Obama and Romney tried to appeal to female voters during the second presidential debate.
Responding to a question about pay equity for women, Obama noted that the first piece of legislation he signed made it easier for women to seek the same pay as men for doing the same work.
Romney said that as governor of Massachusetts, his administration had a number of women in senior leadership positions. He says many women have suffered job losses and moved into poverty during Obama's tenure and that creating more jobs would help women.
The president questioned Romney's commitment to women's health care, pointing to the Republican's vow to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. He calls health care a "pocket book issue" for women and families.
Voter asks Romney how he differs from Bush
Romney said he differs from fellow Republican George W. Bush on energy policy, China and deficits. Obama said the biggest difference is that his GOP rival is more extreme on social issues than Bush.
A voter during Tuesday's town hall-style debate asked Romney how he was different than Bush, who left office deeply unpopular. Romney said that he would govern under different conditions that would allow him to make North America energy independent from Arab and Venezuelan oil. He also said he would crack down on China's currency manipulation and cut the deficit by increasing trade.
Obama was ready with a quick retort. He said Romney, unlike Bush, would cut funding to Planned Parenthood and that Romney would pursue a more stringent immigration policy than Bush did.
Obama, Romney paint opposing picture of Obama term
Obama ticked through promises kept as having halted the economic slide but pledged to go hard after those campaign pledges from 2008 that he has not met.
In response, Romney said Obama's unmet commitments have slowed the nation's economic recovery.
Obama listed small-business tax cuts, health care legislation and financial regulation as measures that helped stabilize the faltering economy.
Romney said Obama chiefly has failed to meet employment targets.
Obama, Romney tangle over immigration
Obama and Romney clashed over immigration, with Romney accusing Obama of failing to reform the immigration system during his first term.
Romney said the nation needs to stop illegal immigration, noting that 4 million people are trying to gain American citizenship legally. He said he won't grant amnesty to people who come to the U.S. illegally.
Obama said Romney has opposed the DREAM Act, a failed bill that would have provided a path to legal status for many young illegal immigrants.
He said Republicans in Congress have been unwilling to support comprehensive immigration reform and won't in the future with Romney as the "standard-bearer" of his party.
Obama says buck stops with him on Libya
Obama said the responsibility for what happened at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, falls to him and to no one else.
Romney said 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.
Obama and Romney sparred over the United States' response to the Sept. 11 attacks that killed America's ambassador of three others in Libya. Obama said he wants to find out exactly what made possible those four deaths and calls Romney's response offensive and designed to score political points.
Romney said the attacks represent the unraveling of Obama's foreign policy.
Obama calls for reintroducing assault-weapons ban
Obama called for reintroducing legislation to ban assault weapons.
In discussing the issue, Obama said weapons that were designed for soldiers at war don't belong on the street.
After the mass shooting in Colorado last summer, Obama aides said that the president supports the ban that expired in 2004. But Obama had not called for reinstating it until the debate.
Romney repeated his opposition to banning assault weapons. He had supported a ban as governor of Massachusetts.
Romney said he's not in favor of new pieces of legislation on guns.
Obama strikes on Romney's 47 percent comment
During the first debate, Obama never mentioned Romney's videotaped remarks that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on the government. This time it was his closing argument.
Obama brought it up during the final question of the second debate, preventing Romney from answering.
Asked about public misperceptions of their candidacies, Romney said Obama's campaign tried to turn him into something he's not.
Romney said - quote - "I care about 100 percent of the American people."
Obama responded that when Romney said "behind closed doors" that 47 percent of the country considered themselves victims, "think about who he was talking about."
The president said that group included the elderly receiving Social Security, veterans, students and soldiers. He said: "If they succeed, I believe this country succeeds."
The Associated Press