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While President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney were ostensibly responding to questions from uncommitted voters at a town hall-style debate on Tuesday, they found plenty of opportunities to attack each other during the 90-minute encounter.

With three weeks until Election Day and their third and final debate focused on foreign policy and national security next week, it was their last opportunity to go head to head on the economy and other domestic issues.

Here are five things we learned from Round Two:

1. The old Romney rears his head

Romney has a knack for hurting himself.

He’s has been stung by his self-inflicted wounds throughout the 2012 campaign (“I’m not concerned about the very poor” springs to mind).

The GOP nominee stumbled into a few messes of his own making on Tuesday.

Just after the debate began, Obama landed a clean hit on Romney over his opposition to the federal bailout of Chrysler and General Motors.

Instead of letting the moment pass and moving on to the next question, Romney decided to once again relitigate the auto bailout, a measure supported by a large majority of voters in the presidential battleground of Ohio.

“He said that I said we should take Detroit bankrupt,” Romney said. “And that’s right. My plan was to have the company go through bankruptcy like 7-Eleven did and Macy’s and Continental Airlines and come out stronger.”

The end result? When he had a chance to mitigate the damage, Romney instead reminded millions of viewers that he would have let the auto industry go under without government help. As the saying goes: When you’re explaining, you’re losing.

Later, Romney got into a series of nit-picky squabbles with moderator Candy Crowley over the mechanics of the debate — the order of questions, equal time and the like.

It didn’t sound bold or presidential, and it called to mind Romney’s helpless appeal to Anderson Cooper during a 2011 Republican primary when Rick Perry kept interrupting him.

Then there was his finale, when he seemed to allude to his cringe-inducing remarks about 47% of Americans as people dependent on government who refused to take personal responsibility.

“I care about 100% of the American people,” Romney said. “I want 100% of the American people to have a bright and prosperous future.”

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