New York: A feistier and forceful Barack Obama appeared to debate his way back into the game at second faceoff with rather 'grim' Republican rival Mitt Romney in New York on Tuesday night with one of the first verdicts branding him the winner of the debate.
The CNN post-debate poll has come out with the results and given it to Obama by 46% to 39%.
46 percent said that Obama won the debate, while 39 percent said Romney fared better. The seven-point margin falls within the poll's sampling error.
As many as 73 percent said Obama did better than expected, compared to 37 percent who said the same about Romney.
The results offer a stark contrast from the first presidential showdown Oct 3, when 67 percent of debate watchers said Romney fared better while 25 percent said Obama won the debate.
But how far his aggressive performance would help Obama get back into the game is yet to be seen with most media reports describing the race for the White House as either a virtual tie or Obama's to lose.
Just three weeks ahead of the Big Day November 6, Barack Obama appeared much more assertive and aggressive than he was at Denver debate and strongly defended his policies and launched sharp attacks on his rival Romney who had won the first debate.
Both the rivals clashed over the details of the energy policy, education and economy, mainly pay equity for women and job prospects.
An upbeat Obama seemed to strongly take on rival Romney, who at times appeared grim.
Romney reiterated that middle class "has been crushed over the last four years" and continued lashing out at Obama's record, saying millions of unemployed people and a sluggish economic recovery showed the president's policies had failed.
The incumbent gave it back to Romney saying the republican would only favour the rich if elected.
The 90-minute debate at Hofstra University, moderated by Candy Crowley of CNN started with a student tossing up a question about his job prospectus. Mitt Romney was the first one to answer and talked about his 5-point plan, including his vow to create 12 million jobs during his first term.
Obama, who was determined not to lag behind his rival this time, appeared quite assertive and told the student named Jeremy that his future is bright, and said he wants to build on the 5 million jobs his administration has created. He also took a dig at Romney, for saying he wanted to "let Detroit go bankrupt." question into his own 5-point plan for boosting the economy, talking about clean energy among other things.
Obama challenged Romney on economics and energy policy, accusing him of switching positions and declaring that his economic plan was a "sketchy deal" that the public should reject.
"You'll get your chance in a moment. I'm still speaking," the former Massachusetts governor said at one point while Obama was mid-sentence. He said the president's policies had failed to jumpstart the economy and crimped energy production.
Obama and Romney clashed over taxes, deficit, energy, pay equity for women and health care issues.
Immigration prompted yet another clash, Romney saying Obama had failed to pursue the comprehensive legislation he promised at the dawn of his administration, and the president saying Republican obstinacy made a deal impossible.
Under the format agreed to in advance, members of an audience of 82 uncommitted voters posed questions to the president and his challenger.
Nearly all of them concerned domestic policy until one raised the subject of the recent death of the US ambassador to Libya in a terrorist attack at an American post in Benghazi.
Romney said it took Obama a long time to admit the episode had been a terrorist attack, but Obama said he had said so the day after in an appearance in the Rose Garden outside the White House.
When moderator Candy Crowley of CNN said the president had in fact done so, Obama, prompted, "Say that a little louder, Candy."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken responsibility for the death of Ambassador L. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, but Obama said bluntly, "I'm the president and I'm always responsible.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 09:49