Obama: `Not True’ — Romney: `It’s Absolutely True’

Photograph by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney listens as President Barack Obama answers a question during a town hall style debate at Hofstra University on Oct. 16, 2012 in Hempstead, New York.

“This has not been Mr. Oil, or Mr. Coal or Mr. Gas,” Republican Mitt Romney said of President Barack Obama.

The Republican nominee for president, at the second of three debates with Obama, promised a policy of encouraging “more drilling, more permits and license” and permitting“that pipeline from Canada” to spur economic development. “This is about bringing good jobs back to America.” R0mney accused the president of restricting drilling on public lands.

“We’ve opened up public lands,” Obama said — more so than his predecessors (“and the previous president was an oil man.”)

“Suddenly you’re a big champion of coal,” Obama said, reminding Romney of his appearance once before a polluting coal-fired power plant. “Most importantly, we’re also starting to build cars that are more efficient…. That’s the strategy you need — an all of the above strategy.”

Permits on federal lands have been cut in half, Romney said.

“Not true, Governor Romney,” the president replied.

“Here’s what happened — you had a bunch of oil companies that had leases on public lands that they weren’t using,” Obama said. They were told, “you use it or you lose it.” So leases were taken away, he said, and production is up.

“Governor, what you’re saying is just not true,” Obama said.

“It’s absolutely true,” Romney said.

And so, 20 minutes into debate it’s this: You’re lying. No I’m not.

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