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Reality Check: 2nd Presidential Debate

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney met Tuesday night in New York for their second debate.

The candidates came out smiling, but the atmosphere at the town-hall-style debate quickly turned tense. Both were on the defensive and prepared with a lot of material. But how accurate were their facts?

We thought the moment when Obama accused Romney of letting American car companies go bankrupt stood out.

Romney never said he wanted Detroit to go bankrupt. That was a New York Times headline. But he did push for a managed bankruptcy for the car companies, using private equity firms. The problem was that the economic crisis was so bad that no bank would lend the car companies money. In those dark days, if the government had not acted, it is almost certain General Motors and Chrysler would no longer exist.

Romney and the president were both aggressive from the moment they walked on stage. It was especially apparent when one of the town hall questioners asked about energy policy.

Obama said U.S. oil production is at an 8 year high, which is TRUE.

However, Romney was also right when he said oil production is down 14 percent on federal lands. It was last year; but it was up the previous two years.

Both candidates spent a lot of time disregarding the facts. Romney said Obama is responsible for high gas prices. That’s FALSE.

The president said Romney believes Arizona’s harsh immigration law is a model for the nation. That’s also FALSE.

During the debate, the two confronted each other, interrupted each other and invaded each other’s space. At times, it was uncomfortable. Both candidates walked right up to the line of disrespect. Clearly, both of them had a game plan.

It’s very hard to say if either one of them actually “won” this debate.

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