Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are debating tonight having a Town-Hall style event. We will be providing live coverage of the event, expected to begin at 9:00PM EST and last until 10:30PM EST. The forum will take place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will answer questions from 80 undecided voters. Mitt Romney has surged in polls since the first debate and now has the moment. The polls are extremely close, and this debate could decide the election.
The topics of the debate is both domestic and foreign policy. The first debate focused entirely on domestic policy. Although the vast majority of our articles are related to domestic economic policy, there is a reason we are covering the debate. Besides for the fact, that I am trying to provide more and quality topics on a variety of news issues, I think that foreign policy does not get enough attention.
Every website, News channel etc. has a bias. I will be honest and note that I was going to write a lengthy article detailing the failures of Barack Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East. I thought that not enough Americans were paying attention to foreign policy, but ,unfortunately, that changed when the US embassy in Libya was attacked by terrorists. I still plan to write a short article on what I think is by far Barack Obama’s biggest blunder in the region, Egypt. I plan to discuss a bit about Pakistan and the Osama Bin Laden raid, as well.
Libya will be a topic tonight, but Egypt with a population approximately 12x larger than Libya is a bigger issue. The Egyptian embassy attack is still murky. If the local US embassy staff wanted to protect themselves from a mob, why would they issue a statement in English on their website? Perhaps 50% of Egyptians speak English. I do not want to go on a tangent, however. It should be noted, one of the Muhammad masterminds of the Libya Embassy attack, Jamal Abu Ahmad, is an Egyptian, released from jail in early 2011. I think if Mitt Romney does not attack Barack Obama on his handling of Egypt, Mitt Romney deserves to lose. I have no idea what Mitt Romney’s foreign policy will be (he flip flops on it), but I will have a bias in this reporting. I also will be focusing more on foreign policy rather than domestic policy. Finally, Barack Obama might be able to claim honestly that the GOP forestalled many plans he had for the economy, however, this is not the case with foreign policy. The buck stops here when it comes to foreign policy (since Congress does not authorize wars these days). On that note, I will begin live coverage when Barack Obama and Mitt Romney enter the hall shortly. My views do not reflect those of other writers for ValueWalk. Many of our writers are avid Barack Obama fans, and we try our best not to have a political agenda.
9:03PM EST: 82 people from New York submitted questions, according to the moderator, Candy Crowley. The debate is taking place at Hofstra University
9:05PM: College student asks Mitt Romney about getting a job after graduation. Mitt Romney starts with thanks to everyone. Mitt Romney notes that he just spoke to someone in Pennsylvania who has the same issue. Mitt Romney states that pell grants should grow and loans should grow. He wants people to get a job, and says he has what it takes to get the economy going, and there is more debt and less jobs.
9:06: Mitt Romney notes that the middle class has been crushed.
9:07: Barack Obama thanks the student for investing in college. Barack Obama notes that it is important to create good paying jobs. Barack Obama states that he created 5 million jobs. Obama states that Mitt Romney wanted Detroit to go bankrupt. Obama wants to 1. help experts 2. improve our education system, and make it the best in the world. Community colleges should also offer opportunites 3. We need to control our own energy, thinking about the future. Wind, solar and biofuels. Obama calls for tax increases, and use money spent on war to invest in America.
9:09: Mitt Romney is asked what he can practically do. Mitt Romney notes that the unemployment rate would be 10.7% if people were still in workforce, and had not dropped out. Mitt Romney says his five point plan will create 12 million jobs. Mitt Romney says that the President took the companies bankrupt. Mitt Romney would have taken General Motors (GM) through a managed bankruptcy.
9:10: Obama responds that Mitt Romney never had a plan to have a managed bankruptcy, and this issue has been confirmed by executives from the car companies, some of whom are Romney supporters. Obama says Romney has a one point plan, and that is to help the wealthy.
9:14: Sec of Energy has said it is not the policy to help lower gas prices is that true? Obama responds that Oil production is at a 16 year high, and natural gas at a high in several decades. However, we must make more energy efficient cars, and this has led to America importing less oil. We have 100 years of energy in natural gas, but we have to use energy efficiency. Governor Romney will allow the oil and gas companies to control the energy policy. He notes that China and Germany are controlling their own energy policy, so should we.
9:17: Romney notes that the increase of gas came from private sources and not Government sources. He notes that oil, coal, gas and renewables will be important, but the President is preventing coal through regulation. President Obama said you can build a coal plant but the regulations will make you bankrupt. Romney says we will be energy independent, we will bring in the Keystone XL pipeline, and this will bring back manufacturing jobs.
9:17: Are high gas prices the new normal?
9:18: Obama says that Romney’s statements are not true. Romney himself cut down coal when he was Governor of Mass. Oil and gas are up. Cars are now more efficient, which will bring more jobs.
9:20: Romney says Obama cut permits by 50%, Obama says this is false. Obama says the companies have permits for public lands, and you use it or lose it. Obama took away permits but is now leasing it. Obama says coal production and jobs is not up. No one really believes you will be for energy, gas and coal. Romney says he will fight for coal, gas and oil. The proof will be the price at the pump. Gas prices and electricity prices are up. Romney re-iterates his support of Keystone XL and support for offshore drilling.
9:22: Obama states that the reason gas prices were so low when he came in, is because the economy was doing so poorly. Obama jokes that Romney’s policies will bring us back to the low gas prices. Obama says we have built enough pipelines to go around the country. Obama notes real energy jobs created.
9:23: Romney interrupts moderator, and then Obama joins in.
9:24: Romney asked about taxes for all tax brackets and deductions will be eliminated, such as the child tax credit, education credit etc. what is your position?
9:27: Romney says he wants middle income tax payers to pay less. He notes that gas prices, health prices and many other ‘stuff’ is up. Romney says he will eliminate deductions for people at the high end. The people at the high end will still pay the same, 60% of taxes. Middle class people will get deductions, which they can decide to use. No taxes on savings, such as interest or dividends. Anyone making under $250,000 will not pay taxes on gains. Romney wants to help the middle class. He will not under any circumstances raise taxes on the middle class. President Obama’s policies will lead to higher taxes for the middle class.
9:30: Obama promised to cut taxes for small businesses and middle class families, and he did that. This is genuinely a moral obligation for the wealthy to do a bit more. 98% of Americans will not see a tax increase. Romney is holding the the 98% hostage. Obama cites Bill Clinton who raised taxes and reduced the budget. Romney said it is fair for him to pay less taxes than a nurse. Obama says his theory is completely different than Romney. Romney stated that top down economics has not worked.
9:32: Romney says that Obama’s statements are not true. Mitt Romney says this about jobs. 54% of Americans work in businesses taxed as individuals. Romney says we can do better than 23 Americans out of jobs, he says women are also suffering. Romney says he will crack down on China, help small businesses which he did in his private life, energy independence.
9:34: Obama states that lowering rates will cost $5 trillion, and Romney wants to spend another $2 trillion on military spending, and continue the Bush tax cuts. Romney says he will cut taxes and balance the budget, but he has not specifics on how to pay for this spending. Romney had very successful investments. Obama says Romney would not invest in a ‘sketchy deal’ like the one Romney purposes.
9:35: Moderator asks Romney what if it does not add up, would you be willing to re-evaluate?
9:36: Romney says ofcourse they add up. He knows how to do math, but notes that President Obama has produced four consecutive years of trillion dollar deficits. Obama will put us on a road to Greece, and increase our debt to $20 trillion.
9:37: Question to Obama. How will you reduce discrimination against gender wages? Obama notes his single mother who worked hard, but there was a ceiling to her success. However, she never complained about it. The first bill Obama signed was related to a woman making less than a man for the same exact job. That is an example of what we will do. This is not just a women’s issue it is middle class issue, as women become the breadwinners.
9:40: Pell grants which Romney mentioned will help young women.
9:42: Romney says he learned much about gender issues as Governor. He says he took a concerted effort to find women for his cabinet in Mass. Mass had more women than any other state cabinet.
9:42: Romney says in the new economy, people will be eager to hire women. In the last four years, women had a net loss of job. The thing which can help women is a stronger economy. This is what Mitt Romney has done, he knows what it takes to be done. This is not a strong economy right now, with 50% of graduates unable to find a job.
9:44: Obama says healthcare is an important issue for women. Obama says women should be in charge of their own health, unlike Governor Romney. Romney thinks that employers should make the decision about contraception. Millions of women rely on Planned Parenthood for many medical services. Child care and credits makes a difference. These are economic issues.
9:46: Question from undecided voter. She attributes much problems to the Bush administration, what is the biggest difference between you and George W. Bush?
9:48: Romney first responds that bureaucrats and employers should not make women’s decisions. Romney says times are different than Bush’s times. Bush was weak on China, I will also grow free trade in Latin America. I will balance the budget, Obama was right that Bush’s plans for more deficits were outrageous. Romney says that the GOP has focused too much on big business, Romney wants to focus more on small business. The most troubling thing about Obamacare is that it is preventing people from hiring.
9:50: Obama notes that he entered office during extremely difficult times and he will do more to expand jobs. Obama notes that Romney’s companies invest in outsourcing companies in China. Obama brought twice as many fair trade practices than the previous administration. Obama stopped China from preventing Chinese tires flooding in.
9:51: Obama notes Romney is different than Bush, Romney is more of an extremist.
9:52: Voter from 2008 asks what Obama did to deserve his vote in 2012? Obama says he killed Osama Bin Laden, ended the Iraq war, put in healthcare reform, cut taxes, reign in excesses of Wall Street. We created 5 million jobs and saved the auto industry. Many are still struggling, that is why Obama needs a second term to continue these policies and commitments he made.
9:54: Obama says Romney has made some promises which you should note. He refuses to raise taxes a dime, will repeal Obamacare (despite it being the same healthcare plan in Mass), and will cut Planned Parenthood.
9:56: Romney: If you elect Obama you will get a repeat of the last four years. He had promised nine million more jobs. He said he would reform Medicare and social security, he has not put forward a plan. He said he would cut the deficit in half while doubling it. Healthcare for middle class has gone up $2,500 despite Obama’s promise to decrease it by that number. The number of people looking for work is 23 million.
9:57: Romney: All Obama’s policies are hindering growth. Ronald Reagan’s cut of taxes produced far more growth. Obama is great as a speaker and has a vision, but he cannot deliver. This election is about a bright and prosperous future.
9:58: Question for Mitt Romney. What will you do for immigrants without a green card?
10:01: Mitt Romney notes he has Mexican heritage and this is a nation of immigrants. People with skills should get green cards. The legal system does not work. Illegal immigration must stop. He will not grant amnesty. He plans an employment verification system. He would not give drivers licenses to people who came here illegally, but their kids should have a pathway to get citizenship. Obama claimed he would reform immigration but failed under a Democrat house and senate.
10:03: Obama says we are a nation of immigrants and laws. Obama says he has done everything he could to streamline the immigration process for people obeying the law. This is good for economic growth. Obama says the border is more secure now. People here illegally, should only be deported if they committed crimes. Young people brought by their parents and who placed allegiance should have a pathway to citizenship. Romney says he will veto the Green Act. He says he would encourage self deportation, he called the Arizona law a great system.
10:05: Romney says that the Arizona law is not a model, Romney states he was only referring to the e-verification part. Romney asked again why Obama did not pass immigration reform. It has been four years and the President has not honoured his word. Romney says he will not round up people, he will allow them to make their own choices. He does agree that criminals should be deported.
10:07: His investments are in a blind trust. Romney asks Obama if he looks at his pension. Obama jokes that he has a lot less money. Romney notes that Obama also has investments in China.
10:08: Barack Obama: People still see America as the land of promise. It should not be a divisive political issue. He says the GOP has not been serious about this issue.
10:09: Question for Obama. The State Department denied security for Libya, who denied it?
10:11: Obama: there are diplomats all over the world. He gave instructions to beef up security, but Romney put out a press release with political points. Obama means what he says, he has gone after Osama Bin Laden and has gotten out of Iraq. Obama promises to hold accountable for Libya attack, and he is responsible for what happens.
10:13: Romney notes his condolences. He notes there were issues associated with this issue. It took a long time for the truth to come out. What is more troubling to Romney, is the Obama’s response the day after flew for political events. These have significance. He should have been focusing on the attack. Romney notes the problems with Israel, Iran, Syria and Egypt.
10:14: Hilary Clinton took responsibility where does the buck stop?
10:15: Obama says that Clinton works for him and notes that he was grieving with the families. Obama says no one would mislead or lie, and it is offensive to suggest that.
10:17: Romney notes that it took 14 days for Obama to call the attack an act of terror. Romney says that it took a long time, am I incorrect?
10:18: Question to Obama. What have you done to keep assault weapons out of the hands of criminals?
10:19: Obama notes that there have been many shootings lately. Obama discusses the personal visits to victims of shootings.
10:20: Obama believes that ‘weapons for soldiers don’t belong on our street.’ He wants to re-instate assault rifle ban, but in Chicago many violent crimes come from cheap hand guns. Obama wants a comprehensive strategy.
10:22: Romney says that gun laws should be enforced, but does not favor more regulation. He thinks education is important to reducing gun violence. He also thinks the Government should encourage parents to get involved and teach children. The biggest failure was Fast and Furious, thousands of weapons were given to drug lords to kill Mexicans and Americans.
10:23: Romney says there are many unanswered questions about Fast and Furious scandal.
10:23: Romney asked why he changed his stance on guns from his days of MA?
10:24: Romney notes the circumstances in MA and now.
10:25: Romney changed his stance to get the support of the NRA, says Obama. However, Obama agrees on education. Obama says education reform put in place has been a phenomenal success.
1026: Obama says Romney does not think hiring teaches helps the economy.
10:26: How will you stop outsourcing?
10:30: Romney says he will make it attractive to come here. He mocks Obama by calling the President’s policies ‘trickle down government.’ China is artificially depressing their currency which helps Chinese exports. China is a currency manipulator, Obama refuses to call them a currency manipulator. But the key is not to punish people, the key is to make America the most attractive place in the world. Canada has a lower corporate tax rate, we need to be competitive. Regulations quadrupled under Obama, small business owners state that they feel like they are under attack. Obamacare is a big problem and related to this. This is why income is down.
10:32: Obama states that he also wants to lower tax rates and close loopholes. Obama claims that Romney wants to encourage outsourcing. Obama says Romney will create jobs in India, Germany and China. Obama states he is close to doubling exports. Romney talked about China. Obama states again that Romney’s company invests in outsourcing.
10:32: It is much cheaper to create iphones and ipads in China how will you stop this?
10:33: Romney says America can succeed against everyone, he was cut off by moderator.
10:34: Obama says some jobs will never come back. Obama says we need to train in high tech jobs to bring companies here.
10:34: Question what is the biggest mis perception people have of you?
10:36: Romney says he wants to help 100% of Americans, Barack Obama has tried to cast Romney for the person who he is not. Romney has done charitable work and got 98% of people insured. He can get this country on track. We do not need to settle for the economy today.
10:39: Obama says that Government does not create jobs. Free enterprise creates jobs and individual initiative but he believes everyone should have a fair shot, that is how the economy is grown. Obama notes there is a fundamentally different vision. Obama notes the famous 47% of Americans comment, while noting that Romney is a ‘good man.’ Obama says the 47% are soldiers, retires people who do not make enough. Obama says he is fighting for them.
Conclusion: Debate is over. The pundits will weigh in. Very little sustenance and lots of rhetoric. Barely ANY foreign policy, despite it being a theme. China bashing is a bipartisan election issue currently. Overall, disappointing, and it appears like a tie.