In a smaller town-hall style debate at Hofstra University in New York, the presidential candidates took the stage sometimes circling each other like prize fighters.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney clashed repeatedly on jobs and energy in the early stages of their second debate on Tuesday, with Obama moving aggressively to challenge his opponent.
Obama was much sharper and more energetic than in their first encounter two weeks ago, when his listless performance was heavily criticized and gave Romney's campaign a much-needed boost.
He repeatedly accused Romney of misstating his policies as president, and resurrected his charge that the economic proposals put forward by the former private equity executive were designed to protect and bolster the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
"Governor Romney says he's got a five-point plan. Governor Romney doesn't have a five-point plan, he has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules," he said.
Romney accused his rival of overseeing a stagnant economy. "The middle class has been crushed over the last four years and jobs have been too scarce," the former Massachusetts governor said.
"I know what it takes to get this economy going," he said. "I know what it takes to create good jobs again."