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Obama, Romney clash on immigration, energy in heated debate

Madeline Roth / Lantern photographer

The economy, middle class and immigration were a few of the topics discussed during the second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney Tuesday night.
The debate, held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., was in the format of a town hall meeting with questions asked by U.S. citizens who are undecided on who they will vote for on Nov. 6.
Obama and Romney discussed the importance of creating jobs in the U.S. — particularly manufacturing jobs and jobs for recent college graduates. They also talked about the importance of solar, coal and wind energy in the U.S.
“The most important thing we can do is make sure we control our own energy,” Obama said.
Romney and Obama agreed it was important that the U.S. is energy independent.
“Let’s take advantage of the energy resources we have,” Romney said. “If we do that, if we do what I’m planning on doing, which is getting us energy independent, North American energy independence within eight years, you’re going to see manufacturing jobs come back.”
Other topics discussed by both candidates during the debate, which lasted about two hours, included immigration, assault weapons and the female workplace.
Both candidates agreed the U.S. is “a nation of immigrants.” Obama said people all over the world need to feel that the U.S. is still the “land of promise.”
Romney said that while Americans need to welcome legal immigrants into this country, illegal immigration needs to stop.
The moderator for the debate was Candy Crowley, CNN chief political correspondent. She said the town hall participants consisted of 82 uncommitted voters from the New York area.
The members of the audience were selected by the Gallup organization, according to the 2012 Election Central website.
Paul Filippelli, executive director of the OSU College Democrats, said he thought Obama had the best performance of any debate in his career.
“And that includes four years ago,” he said. “In the last debate, he let Mitt Romney get away with a lot. He would just let Mitt Romney say all sorts of false things and he didn’t fight back. And this time he fought back and he fought back hard.”
Niraj Antani, communication director for the OSU College Republicans called the debate “quite interesting.”
Following the debate, he said Obama did better than he did during the first debate, but thought Romney still trumped the president.
“Gov. Romney won,” Antani said. “He articulated his views while the president blamed Romney.”
The format worked to Romney’s advantage, Antani said, and thinks it showed he “can connect with the American people.”
Analysts gave mixed reviews on the debate but many claimed Obama to be the winner Tuesday evening.
The third and final presidential debate will take place Monday at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
Results of a Tuesday seven-day rolling Gallup poll have Obama and Romney tied at 47 percent among registered voters with less than a month until the Nov. 6 presidential election.

Ally Marotti and Kristen Mitchell contributed to this article.

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