Obama, Romney Swing Hard in Feisty Second Debate

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- The second presidential debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama turned into a verbal sparring session, with both candidates not missing an opportunity to take a jab at the other.

Both men were aggressive throughout, often interrupting one another and invading each other's space as they answered questions from dozens of uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

How did each candidate do? CBN News Political Analyst John Waage has more, including how moderator Candy Crowley of CNN did, following this report.

The heated exchanges indicated just how tight the presidential election is only weeks before Election Day.

After a listless performance during the first debate in Denver, it didn't take President Obama long to come out swinging in the second round.

"Governor, when you were governor of Massachusetts, you stood in front of a coal plant and pointed at it and said, 'this plant kills...' and took great pride in shutting it down," Obama said.

Who might have won the debate? Dr. Paul Bonicelli, executive vice president of Regent University, offers more insight. Click play below to see his comments. Watch the entire debate below.

Romney stayed aggressive with the president, especially on this exchange when he hit the Obama administration on its energy policy, saying the president has a poor record on drilling for oil.

Romney: "Production on government land is down."
Obama: "No, it isn't."
Romney: "Production on government land of oil is down 14 percent."
Obama: "Governor --"
Romney: "And production on gas -- "
Obama: "It's just not true."
Romney: "It's absolutely true."

The candidates also sparred over China. Romney said he would get tough with them on trade and that led to this testy, personal exchange:

Obama: "Keep in mind that Gov. Romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing to China... Governor, you're the last person who's going to get tough on China."
Romney: "Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?"
Obama: "You know, I -- I don't look at my pension. It's not as big as yours so it doesn't take as long."
Romney: "Let me give you some advice. Look at your pension. You also have investments in Chinese companies."

The candidates' answers often contradicted each other, leaving voters to sift through the facts and find out who had their stories straight.

Moderator Candy Crowley of CNN started the debate with a question about the country's high unemployment rate. Both men spent a good part of the time trying to paint the other's economic plan as the wrong course for America.

"Governor Romney says he's got a five-point plan? Governor Romney doesn't have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules," Obama charged.

Romney attacked the president's plan to create more jobs.

"He said that by now we'd have unemployment at 5.4 percent. The difference between where it is and 5.4 percent is 9 million Americans without work. I wasn't the one that said 5.4 percent. This was the president's plan. Didn't get there," he countered.

The candidates also focused heavily on the middle class and taxes during the debate.

"Why am I lowering taxes on the middle class? Because under the last four years, they've been buried," Romney said. "The president's spending, the president's borrowing will cause this nation to have to raise taxes on the American people."

President Obama countered with, "My philosophy on taxes has been simple and that is I want to give middle class families and folks who are striving to get in the middle class some relief. I will cut taxes for middle class families and that's what I've done by $3,600."

There was also a blast from the past when Romney was asked about how he'd be different from President George W. Bush. He offered a few different examples.

"I'm going to get us to a balanced budget. President Bush didn't," Romney said.

President Obama couldn't help but chime in.

"You know, there are some things where Governor Romney is different from George Bush. George Bush didn't propose turning Medicare into a voucher," Obama said.

Out of all the topics, the controversy over the U.S. Embassy attack in Benghazi, Libya, proved one of the strongest exchanges. Romney suggested the president may have withheld information about whether the incident was a terrorist attack or not.

"You have to ask yourself why didn't we know five days later when the ambassador to the United Nations went on TV to say that this was a demonstration. How could we have not known?" Romney asked.

"The suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador -- anybody on my team -- would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, Governor, is offensive. That's not what we do," Obama said.

It may be too soon to determine who Americans thought won the second debate after President Obama admitted to losing the first one.

Analysts said President Obama needed to come across as more energetic and aggressive while Romney needed to be more empathetic and able to relate to real voters.

While the number one issue on voters minds is the economy, the subject of the final debate will be about foreign policy. It will be held Monday, Oct. 22, in Boca Raton, Fla. 

*CBNNews.com will be streaming the final debate LIVE, Monday, Oct. 22, starting @ 9 p.m. ET.

Watch the entire debate below:

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