GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama got into a tense back and forth over America’s energy independence only 15 minutes into the 90 minute debate.
The intense disagreement began the two candidates began with a question about whether or not the U.S. Energy Secretary has the power to lower gas prices (which never did get answered) and quickly moved to each of the candidates’ views on what at a U.S. energy policy should look like. After Obama changed his position on drilling for oil and natural gas in America – which he is apparently a fan of now – Romney challenged him to explain whether or not his administration had cut the number of drilling permits.
When Obama wouldn’t answer the question, Romney kept pressing him until he finally answered it in an exchange that looked like it was about to end in a Berman-Sherman bear hug or a brawl.
It was a visible sign of just how much the two candidates have come to dislike each other that didn’t disappear throughout the debate.
After debate moderator Candy Crowley insisted the candidates move on to another question the debate calmed down for a half hour before the two got into an argument over their personal overseas investments after Romney pointed out Obama’s hypocritical attacks. Romney noted that his assets are in a blind trust, which include overseas investments, and encouraged Obama to look into his own pension – which also includes overseas investments.
“Have you looked at your pension?” Romney shouted at Obama several times.
“You know, I don’t look at my pension – it’s not as big as yours,” Obama retorted.
The two presidential candidates again got into it after a question from an audience member aimed at the President on the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya and if it was true that requests for more security were ignored. Obama refused to answer the question and then lied about his administration’s response to the attack, saying that the day afterward he called it an “act of terror” at a press conference in the Rose Garden.
Romney attempted to hold the President accountable but was interrupted by Crowley who defended Obama’s answer and undercut Romney’s spot on attack.
The disagreement ended with Crowley suggesting they move on, which the President, who was eager to shift the focus off of Libya, fully endorsed.
Note: This post has been slightly updated to include additional information.