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The Second 2012 Presidential Debate: Blog Recap

Updated from 12:54 p.m. ET with additional analysis.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Following a subdued performance in their first face-off, President Barack Obama will look to slow Republican nominee Mitt Romney's momentum Tuesday night in a town hall-style debate at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York.

The second clash of the 2012 presidential race, which is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET, is expected to feature questions from undecided voters seeking more specifics from both candidates on issues such as taxes, Benghazi and more.

"He [Obama] has got to do three things: one is he's got to show the holes in Romney's economic plan ... number two, he has to provide a substantive answer to the questions that are probably going to come up about Libya ... and third, he just has to make people forget about what happened two weeks ago, which is his lackluster performance -- he has to act like he wants this job again," said Anthea Butler, professor of religious studies at University of Pennsylvania.

Two weeks ago, the president at times appeared disengaged from the debate with Romney, who arrived well-rehearsed and eager to allay worries about a flagging campaign.

But the Romney campaign has continued to refuse to be more specific on a range of platforms that have included taxes and his jobs plan, leaving a likely opening for Obama.

During last week's vice presidential debate, moderator Martha Raddatz continuously pressed Rep. Paul Ryan for greater clarification on how he and Romney planned to pay for a 20%, across-the-board tax cut, as did Obama's running mate Joe Biden.

The president will likely do the same as he looks to steal back some of the thunder that Romney was able to grab last time around.

"Romney came across as a much more moderate, considerate candidate than what he had in the primary ... the approach he took in the debate two weeks ago probably wouldn't get him seven votes in a Republican primary, but this isn't a Republican primary," said Jim Denton, a Republican political consultant in Nevada. "He needs to expand and articulate on what he did [Oct. 3]."

Romney will have his own hurdles to overcome Tuesday night, as the president will likely highlight the Republican's now-ubiquitous 47% comments from a video that surfaced last month.

In the first debate, Obama avoided any mention of the comments as the video had surfaced just two days ahead of the debate, but Vice President Joe Biden took a dig at the 47% number less than half an hour into his debate against Ryan.

The Obama campaign has launched a thorough attack at Romney over the past two weeks, repeatedly claiming the former Massachusetts governor simply does not care about half of Americans.

Romney said, shortly after the unearthing of the video, that his remarks were "just completely wrong."

Butler said Romney will have to be punchy but respectful and that he will have to prepare more specifics, because he may have to prove to the room of undecided voters, and the national audience that still hasn't made up its mind, that he actually has a plan.

With the projection of another massive viewership for Tuesday's town hall debate, Denton said a strong performance will be crucial for Obama. To erase his poor showing two weeks ago in Denver, Denton said he thinks Obama must show that he cannot come across as the so-called detached professor.

Candy Crowley, CNN's chief political correspondent, is to serve as moderator of the event as she hopes to press the candidates beyond the comfort of their well-rehearsed stump speeches. Critical to her success will be denying the candidates the opportunity to outright speak over her control of time allocation -- a problem PBS's Jim Lehrer faced two weeks ago.

Though the first debate spoke mostly to each candidate's economic policies, social issues, such as abortion and the environment, are expected to get more play tonight.

The president could get a lift from Tuesday's surge in the stocks as the major U.S. equity averages soared Tuesday, buoyed by a batch of strong big-cap earnings reports and data showing a rebound in industrial production last month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up more than 127 points, or 0.95%, at 13,552.

The S&P 500 advanced nearly 15 points, or 1.03%, to close at 1455, while the Nasdaq surged close to 37 points, or 1.21%, to settle at 3101.

Join us as our live coverage of the debate begins at 8:30 p.m. ET -- you can use the form above to set an e-mail reminder. In the meantime, don't miss our analysis of who won the first presidential debate and who won the vice-presidential debate.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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