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Second presidential debate, October 16 (Photograph courtesy Barack Obama/Flickr)

Second Presidential Debate: Who Won on Energy?

A contentious exchange over energy policy occurred early in Tuesday night’s second presidential debate in Hempstead, New York. While Gov. Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of “keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas,” Obama continued to advocate for his “all of the above” plan to promote clean energy. “We’ve got to make sure we’re building the energy sources of the future, not just thinking about next year, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now,” he said.  (See the full transcript at The New York Times.full transcript at The New York Times.)

The candidates sparred over, among other things, the Keystone XL pipeline, oil company leases, energy industry jobs, and the issue that perhaps hits home hardest for most Americans: gasoline prices. Romney essentially laid the blame for current gas prices (which are around $3.75 a gallon for regular fuel)  with Obama:  “The proof of whether a strategy is working or not is what the price is that you’re paying at the pump. If you’re paying less than you paid a year or two ago, why, then the strategy is working. But you’re paying more.”

But as others have pointed out, the U.S. president exerts very little control over gasoline prices, which are largely determined by the crude oil market. (See also: “Crude Reality: Gas Prices Rocket Because They Can“)

Which candidate do you think made a stronger case on energy policy? Weigh in on the poll below and in the comments.