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The Boston Globe

Nation

NEWS ANALYSIS

Audience questions underscore nation’s wounds

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The difference was clear: President Obama showed up for the debate Tuesday night, forceful, energetic, on the attack, prepared with zingers and sound bites, fighting for his political life. Mitt Romney often responded in kind.

Forcefully defending his health care plan and his economic policies, Obama left behind his listless Denver persona. He found a way to attack Romney in the midst of his responses, calling the former Massachusetts governor “extreme,” reprising Romney’s videotaped comment denigrating 47 percent of Americans as essentially income-tax freeloaders, and mocking him for providing budget-cutting specifics about such things as federal funding for PBS’s Big Bird and Planned Parenthood.

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