Aggressive Obama puts Romney on back foot in fiery debate
HEMPSTEAD, New York (AFP) - A combative Barack Obama landed telling blows on challenger Mitt Romney as naked dislike boiled over between the White House foes in a tense debate three weeks from election day.
President Obama bounced off the ropes after a dismal showing in their first encounter two weeks ago, knowing his tumbling poll numbers could doom him to the historical ignominy of a single term without a sharp intervention.
Early signs were that Mr Obama's passion-fueled performance will revive optimism and enthusiasm among Democrats in his bid for a second term, though Mr Romney, touting entrepreneurship, scored blows of his own on the economy.
In one spellbinding exchange, Mr Obama stared directly at Mr Romney and rebuked him over his criticism of his White House for its handling of an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11, which killed four Americans.