It was a heated debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as the two went head to head at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Our Grace Rauh reports.
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- The tone of the town hall style debate changed from cordial to aggressive with a question on energy policy. It had both men interrupting each other and pushing for equal time.
The two disagreeing on how much oil and gas production on government land is taking place. The president says he's focused on pushing for the future and not only lowering costs now, but pushing for lower energy costs over time. Romney says the president's energy policy is just not working and we need to go in a different direction.
“The proof of whether a strategy is working or not is the price you're paying at the pump. If you're paying less than what you paid year or two ago, why then the strategy is working. But you're paying more. When the president took office, the price of gasoline here in Nassau County was about a $1.86. Now it's four bucks a gallon. Cost of energy is up. If the energy policies are working, you're going to see the cost of energy come down," Romney said.
Obama said, "When I took office, because the economy was on the verge of collapse, because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney is now promoting. So it's conceivable Romney could bring down the price of gas because we might be back in that same mess.”
The sluggish economy that dominated the last debate on October 3rd was also a major issue.
Romney blamed the president for the current state of the economy and high unemployment rate. He says he has a plan to get Americans back to work by investing in small business and repealing some of the red tape that limits growth.
Romney took a question from a recent college student, concerned about finding a job after graduation.
"We have not made the progress we need to make to put people back to work. That's why I put out a five point plan that gets America 12 million new jobs in four years and rising take home pay. It's going to get Jeremy get a job when he comes out of school. It's going to help millions of people across the country who are unemployed right now," Romney said.
President Obama says the economy is showing signs of improving. He says he has a plan to invest in education to stimulate job growth, adding thousands of new teachers over the next four years to make sure students are equipped with the skills needed to compete in the crowded job market.
Obama also says he wants to build on the successes in employment from his first term.
Obama said, "What I want to do is build on the five million jobs we created in the last 30 months in the private sector alone. There's a bunch of things we can do to make sure your future is bright. Number one: I want to build manufacturing jobs in this country again. When Governor Romney said he wants Detroit to go bankrupt, I bet on American workers and the auto industry and it has come surging back."
Both men said they want to boost businesses by giving them incentives for not moving their operations overseas.
Obama and Romney also talked to voters about health care during the debate.
Obama's health care reform bill focuses on making health insurance affordable for low and middle income Americans. However, Romney says Obama's policies are hurting the middle class
Obama said, "Because this is not just a health issue, it's an economic issue for women. It makes a difference."
Romney said, "The middle class is getting crushed by the policies of a president who has not understood what it takes to get the economy working again."
This was the second debate for the pair. There's one more debate scheduled before Election Day. It's on October 22nd in Boca Raton, Florida.