Jeremy Epstein, a 20-year-old college student, told the candidates for president tonight that all he hears about is what little chance he will have to find employment.
“Your question is one that’s being asked by college kids all over this country,” Republican Mitt Romney said, at the start of a nationally televised debate with President Barack Obama. “The key thing is to make sure you can get a job when you get out of school… I know what it takes to bring back good jobs.”
“When you come out in 2014 — I presume I’m going to be president — I’m going to be sure you get a job,” Romney said, speaking of a five-point plan to right the economy.
“The best thing we can do in this country is not just create jobs, but good-paying jobs,” Obama said. “I want to build manufacturing jobs in this country again. When Governor Romney said we should let Detroit go bankrupt, I said we should bet on American autoworkers.”
And so, with the first question, out of the box, the president has taken the first punch of a 90-minute debate that will be closely watched following the first of a series which was widely perceived as won by Romney.
The Republican former governor of Massachusetts replied that Obama’s policies haven’t worked. “He said that I think we should have taken Detroit bankrupt. He’s right… The president took Detroit bankrupt…. When you say I wanted to take Detroit bankrupt, well you did.”
“What Governor Romney said, just isn’t true — he wanted to take them into bankrupty without any way of staying open,” Obama said in rebuttal. “Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan, and that’s to make sure that the folks at the top play by a different set of rules. ”
The second of three televised presidential debates, this one is taking place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Following the first debate in Denver, public opinion polls pointed to a clear win for Romney in a discussion that ranged from fixing the economy to philosophies of governing.
Tonight’s encounter follows a “town hall” format, with questions submitted by a Gallup-assembled pool of registered voters in the theater — CNN’s Candy Crowley, manager of the questions and debate moderator, greeted them as the “posse.”