HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (October 17, 2012)--Both campaigns were claiming victory Wednesday after President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney engaged in a pushy, interruption-filled encounter Tuesday night, making charges and countercharges that the other candidate wasn't telling the truth.
Georgetown University debate director Jonathan Paul says at one point, he thought President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney "were going to come to blows."
Mr. Obama accused Romney of peddling a "sketchy deal" to fix the U.S. economy and favoring a "one-point plan" to help the rich at the expense of the middle class.
Romney protested that the charge was way off the mark and countered that the middle class "has been crushed" during Mr. Obama's term.
Both men forcefully argued that their policies would do more to strengthen the economy and laid out sharp contrasts on issues including taxes, energy, health care, the deficit and foreign policy.
Romney's running mate Paul Ryan issued a fundraising appeal issued not long after the debate ended, declaring "Mitt crushed it again at tonight's debate."
Mr. Obama's team also claimed victory for the re-energized incumbent, although adviser David Plouffe allowed that the race remains tight as ever.
He said that while Mr. Obama won 53 percent of the vote last time, he's not expecting to get that again.