In Face-Off, Obama And Romney Rumble Over A Range Of Issues

News outlets examine how each candidate fared in Tuesday night's town-hall style debate. In general, many media sources note how little discussion surrounded issues related to Medicare and the health law.  

The New York Times: Rivals Bring Bare Fists To Rematch
President Obama and Mitt Romney engaged Tuesday in one of the most intensive clashes in a televised presidential debate, with tensions between them spilling out in interruptions, personal rebukes and accusations of lying as they parried over the last four years under Mr. Obama and what the next four would look like under a President Romney (Rutenberg and Zeleny, 10/16).

Los Angeles Times: A Sharper Tone In Second Presidential Debate
In a town-hall-style debate that was supposed to focus on questions from ordinary voters, President Obama and Mitt Romney circled each other on the stage and engaged in finger-pointing displays. … But Romney also appeared to contradict himself when he stated that all women should have access to contraception, though he supported an amendment in Congress that would allow employers to deny birth-control coverage to their workers. … Obama's wide-ranging assault — on everything from Romney's personal tax rate, his comments about "the 47%" and his work as a venture capitalist, to his policies on taxation, immigration, contraception and healthcare — were studded with specific details designed to portray the Republican challenger as an avatar of the wealthy (West and Mehta, 10/16).

The Wall Street Journal: Candidates Tangle In Fractious Debate
Mr. Romney distilled his argument against the president to a simple theme: The country can't afford four more years under Mr. Obama. … The candidates fielded a range of questions from undecided voters, selected by the Gallup Organization polling company, in a 90-minute debate at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island. Mr. Obama took on Mr. Romney's positions on taxes, trade, energy and women's health issues in an attempt to cast him as more conservative than the GOP candidate has suggested in recent days (Lee, Hook and O’Connor, 10/17).

The Washington Post: With Stakes High, Obama Hits Back At Romney In A Fiery Second Debate
A far more aggressive President Obama showed up for his second debate with Mitt Romney on Tuesday, and at moments their town-hall-style engagement felt more like a shouting match than a presidential debate. … The debate, which was framed by questions from the audience, ranged into topics that had not been broached in any depth at the earlier one — including immigration, women’s issues, gun control and foreign policy (Tumulty and Rucker, 10/17).

Los Angeles Times: Energized Obama Takes Aggressive Approach In Second Debate
Each man aimed comments directly at voters that are key to their election efforts. Obama offered a long list of policies that his administration has designed to help women in the workplace and said Romney's plans would deprive many working women of contraceptive coverage on their health plans, something Romney denied (Lauter, 10/16).

Reuters: Obama Casts Romney As Extremist On Medicare, Women's Health
President Barack Obama, long accused by Republicans of pursuing a socialist agenda on healthcare and other policies, tried to cast his Republican rival Mitt Romney as an extremist on Medicare and women's health issues in their debate on Tuesday. Obama went after Romney in response a question from the audience about what distinguished the former Massachusetts governor's positions from those of another Republican, former President George W. Bush (Morgan, 10/17).

Modern Healthcare: Healthcare Takes A Backseat In Second Presidential Debate
A prominent feature of the first presidential debate, healthcare was barely mentioned Tuesday night in President Barack Obama's and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's arguments that focused heavily on other domestic issues such as jobs, taxes, energy and immigration policy.  The two candidates addressed voters in a 90-minute town hall format at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., three weeks before Election Day in the second of three presidential debates and the last to focus on both domestic and foreign policy (Zigmond, 10/17).

The Hill: Medicare, Obama Health Law Get Short Debate Time
Healthcare issues received little attention in Tuesday night's debate as President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney sparred over energy, tax and immigration policy. Medicare and Obama's healthcare law did not arise until nearly halfway through the 90-minute match-up at Hofstra University in New York state, and even then, it didn't receive specific questions from the town-hall audience. Obama and Romney responded by inserting their own healthcare attacks, but the second debate still represented a marked departure from the first, where "ObamaCare" and Medicare were among the event's top buzzwords (Viebeck, 10/17).

Politico Pro: Obama, Romney Hit Only Some Health Points
President Barack Obama was able to cross a couple of big items off of his health care checklist Tuesday night. Hit Mitt Romney on contraception and win women voters? Check. Remind voters that "Obamacare" is based on "Romneycare"? Check. Make Romney explain his pre-existing conditions policy? Nope — that one never came up. And Romney scored some points of his own at the Hofstra University debate — mentioning several times that Obama's health care law is a threat to small employers and a drag on businesses' hiring. And Obama's promise that health care reform would lower families' costs by $2,500? Romney took aim at that huge target and fired (Nather, 10/16).

Medpage Today: Second Debate Light On Health Topics
The issue of healthcare was never directly asked about during a 90-minute town hall-style presidential debate Tuesday night, but that didn't stop it from creeping into the discussion. On several occasions, President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney interjected their talking points on healthcare in their second debate, which was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The first mention of healthcare came more than 30 minutes into the debate on a question about equal pay for women. Obama seized the opportunity to tout copayment-free contraceptive coverage for women and preventative services for all, two elements of the Affordable Care Act (Pittman, 10/16).

The Medicare NewsGroup: Media Sentiment Toward Romney Is Up, While Obama Remains Slightly Negative, on the Topic of Medicare
In the lead-up to the vice presidential debate on October 11, and during the days that followed, mainstream media, bloggers and social media mavens expressed sentiment toward Obama and Romney that was virtually neutral. But then, attitudes toward Obama rose slightly while those toward Romney dipped into the negative. The week ended with a reversal: Romney spiked into the positive and Obama dipped slightly negative. Despite that small shift, opinions toward the candidates and their ties to Medicare were mainly negative or neutral during the second week of October, according to sentiment measured by Appinions, an influence marketing platform company (Sjoerdsma, 10/16).

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