NEW YORK - Making a long sprint to the Oval House, US President Barack Obama emerged winner in a second debate against his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, consolidating his re-election bid.
"I think Obama won this one, said audience member James Digirolamo, from Long Island, New York, Reuters reported.
I'll say I'm a Romney supporter, but I don't think he effectively got all his points.
Opinion polls showed that Obama defeated Romney in their second debate on Tuesday, October 16.
A CNN survey gave Obama the edge by 46 percent to 39 percent, while CBS had Obama the winner by 37 percent to 30 percent.
Obama, who is seeking re-election in the November vote, was much sharper and more energetic than in their opening debate two weeks ago.
In the debate, Obama scolded Romney for accusing him of trying to take political advantage of the attack by militants in Libya last month that killed four Americans, including the US Ambassador Chris Stevens.
"That's not what we do. That's not what I do as president, that's not what I do as commander in chief," Obama said during the debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, calling the accusation "offensive."
"I'm the president and I'm always responsible, and that's why nobody's more interested in finding out exactly what happened," Obama said.
"I'm the president and I'm always responsible, and that's why nobody's more interested in finding out exactly what happened.
Romney questioned Obama's claim that he called the Benghazi attack "an act of terror" in the White House Rose Garden the day afterward, but moderator Candy Crowley of CNN corrected the Republican. Transcripts show Obama did use the term that day.
But the intervention of the moderator has upset some audience.
"I was a little disappointed how the moderator handled the debate, in particular the issue with the terror' remark," Digirolamo said, referring to criticism by Republicans that moderator Crowley intervened in favor of Obama during the exchange over Libya.
A Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll on Tuesday showed that Obama gained a bit more ground on Romney for the third straight day and led 46 percent to 43 percent.
But a Gallup/USA Today survey showed Romney ahead by 4 percentage points in the 12 most contested states.
The two candidates also spared over the administration policies to tackle the economic slowdown.
"The middle class is getting crushed under the policies of a president who has not understood what it takes to get the economy working again, Romney said.
He keeps saying, 'Look, I've created 5 million jobs.' That's after losing 5 million jobs, he said, arguing that Obama's policies have led to 15 million people on food stamps.
The entire record is such that the unemployment has not been reduced in this country," the former Massachusetts governor said.
Romney said Obama's economic record speaks for itself.
"The president has tried, but his policies haven't worked. He's great as a speaker and at describing his plans and his vision. That's wonderful, except we have a record to look at and that record shows that he just hasn't been able to cut the deficit, to put in place reforms for Medicare and Social Security to preserve them, to get us the rising incomes we need."
Arguing that he supports equal opportunities for women, Romney said he once had "binders full of women" candidates for cabinet jobs when he was Massachusetts governor.
But Obama hit back, criticizing the Republican candidate's economic proposals, which he said serve only the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
"Governor Romney says he's got a five-point plan. Governor Romney doesn't have a five-point plan, Obama said.
Has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules.
The two candidates also classed over the Obama administration's 2009 auto bailout.
Romney said Obama had misrepresented his position that General Motors should go into a managed bankruptcy.
"He keeps saying, you want to take Detroit bankrupt. Well, the president took Detroit bankrupt," Romney said.
"You took General Motors bankrupt. You took Chrysler bankrupt. So when you say that I wanted to take the auto industry bankrupt, you actually did."
Obama responded: "What Governor Romney said just isn't true. He wanted to take them into bankruptcy without providing them any way to stay open. And we would have lost a million jobs."The two candidates will meet again next week in Boca Raton, Florida for their final debate, which will be on foreign policy.