Editor's note: Keeping Them Honest, Anderson Cooper reports on the validity of statements made by both candidates during the debate. Watch AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
While President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney were ostensibly responding to questions from uncommitted voters at a town hall-style debate on Tuesday, they found plenty of opportunities to attack each other during the 90-minute encounter.
With three weeks until Election Day and their third and final debate focused on foreign policy and national security next week, it was their last opportunity to go head to head on the economy and other domestic issues.
Here are five things we learned from Round Two:
1. The old Romney rears his head
Romney has a knack for hurting himself.
He has been stung by his self-inflicted wounds throughout the 2012 campaign ("I'm not concerned about the very poor" springs to mind).
The GOP nominee stumbled into a few messes of his own making on Tuesday.
I hear old discussion about whether to cut or not cut taxes for the wealthy or for the middle class. I've heard it many an election season. I wonder if CNN and other news organization might begin a new discussion of eliminating income tax altogether.
The history is likely well known, but just by way of reminder, income tax was meant to be temporary assistance for Civil War revenue. Later legislation made income tax common. With the economy the way it is, many individuals are piecing together incomes, making paying taxes much more of a headache as they have to set aside moneys for a later date.
What if income tax ended? To compensate, taxes would be extracted via property and a flat sales tax. That way, those who feel the need to buy more will pay more taxes, but what people make in a day, they will get to take home.
Granted this is a simplistic model, but I think it's a necessary discussion to begin.
I was holding out hope ALL day waiting to see if you'd step up tonite on 360 about "The Rose Garden" statement...Just now I heard you and David & quite literally by myself watching, raised my fist and yelled "YES ANDERSON...THANK YOU THANK YOU"!...I commended you a while back in this format for taking the lead in this deplorable story inspite of whitehouse flack and even possible CNN flack to not only report this, but applaud you sincerely for your relentless tenacity in NOT LETTING it disappear till the truth of this and how its unfolding is brought to light...BRIGHT LIGHT. Two thumbs up Anderson for your courage..Sincerelym .Kathy from Columbus Ohio
Kudos to you, Anderson, for calling out a confusing exchange during the debate.
Candy made an honest mistake but clearly Fareed is taking Obamas' terror comment ou of context.
We've all had 12 hours to review the Rosegarden statement. If only 20% of viewers question Fareed's integrity on this issue, then as a commentator, Fareed has essentially NO integrety. Very sad day.
How does Romnney plan to ensure North Amercica Oil unless he plans to occupy my county
I used to watch Candy Crowley and I used to admired her, after last night debate, all that are gone. A great journalist should not side on any candidate or most so on the president. We have the debates to give them the chance to explain themselves to the viewers and let the viewers decide what they think of our president and nominee. With the moderator helping the President, it is unfair to nominee and it's unfair to us the public not able to get the truth if the journalist/moderator is the one explanation to the public what the president said and not said, we might as well not to do this debate. I thought you are different from the other journalist, I'm sorry I was wrong. That's why our country in such a turmoil becasue the media are holding on the truth. Thank you! Susan from SD
Anderson, did President Obama admit he knew on day 1 that Benghazi was a terror attack AND allowed his administration to tell Americans otherwise for a week? Why won't the news media call him out on this? Why didn't Candy C. challenge the President instead of siding with him that he indeed stated that Benghazi was a terror attach. Bias?
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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