BOISE -- Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama squared-off at Hofstra University for a town hall style debate on Tuesday.
Political experts say Obama's Presidency was on the line during the highly-anticipated performance. They also say Romney's powerful, challenging demeanor in the first debate, two weeks ago, would challenge the President. For those two reasons, the stakes were high during Tuesday's spirited exchange.
"Obama showed up this time -- opposed to the first debate, which he didn't," said KTVB Political Analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby.
Weatherby says Obama was determined to stop his slide in the polls, so he hit hard from the start.
ECONOMIC POLICY AND ENERGY
"Governor Romney says he has a five point plan," Obama said. "Governor Romney doesn't have a five point plan, he has a one point plan."
Romney hit back in a sharp exchange on domestic energy.
"In the last four years, you've cut permits in half," said Romney to Obama.
"What you're saying is just not true," replied Obama.
TAXES AND DEBT
An undecided voter asked about taxes and the debt.
"I said I would cut taxes for middle class families and that's what I've done," said President Obama.
"And I will not, under any circumstances, reduce the share being paid by top taxpayers," said Governor Romney.
"There were some serious people who were saying that Obama's presidency was on the line tonight," said Dr. Weatherby.
KTVB Political Analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby also said President Obama redeemed himself from the last debate. Weatherby says Romney also made several in-roads.
"I think Romney did a pretty good job in going after Obama on his record," said Weatherby.
In summary, Weatherby says the 2012 presidential campaign is still a close race.
The reason? Weatherby says with Election Day just three weeks away, independent voters may still be swayed.
"It's the independent voters who are making the decision," Weatherby said. "We don't always know how they make that decision."
Weatherby says that factor may be the "true test" of the 2012 presidential race.