Archive for Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Obama, Romney clash on economy in first debate

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama answers questions during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama answers questions during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

October 3, 2012


DENVER (AP) — In a showdown at close quarters, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney sparred aggressively in their first campaign debate Wednesday night over taxes, deficits and strong steps needed to create jobs in a sputtering national economy. "The status quo is not going to cut it," declared the challenger.

Obama in turn accused his rival of seeking to "double down" on economic policies that actually led to the devastating national downturn four years ago.

Both men made frequent references to the weak economy and high national unemployment, by far the dominant issue in the race for the White House. Public opinion polls show Obama with a slight advantage in key battleground states and nationally, and Romney was particularly aggressive, like a man looking to shake up the campaign with a little less than five weeks to run.

Polite but pointed, the two men agreed about little if anything.

Obama said his opponent's plan to reduce all tax rates by 20 percent would cost $5 trillion and benefit the wealthy at the expense of middle income taxpayers.

Shot back Romney: "Virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate."

The former Massachusetts governor and businessman added that Obama's proposal to allow the expiration of tax cuts on upper-level income would mean tax increases on small businesses that create jobs by the hundreds of thousands.

The two campaign rivals clasped hands and smiled as they strode onto the debate stage at the University of Denver, then waved to the audience before taking their places behind identical lecterns.

There was a quick moment of laughter, when Obama referred to first lady Michelle Obama as "sweetie" and noted it was their 20th anniversary.

Romney added best wishes, and said to the first couple, "I'm sure this is the most romantic place you could imagine, here with me."

Both candidates' wives were in the audience.

The two men debated before a television audience likely to be counted in the tens of millions. They will meet twice more this month, and their running mates once, but in past election years, viewership has sometimes fallen off after the first encounter.

Without saying so, the two rivals quickly got to the crux of their race — Romney's eagerness to turn the contest into a referendum on the past four years while the incumbent desires for voters to choose between his plan for the next four years and the one his rival backs.

Romney ticked off the dreary economic facts of life — a sharp spike in food stamps, economic growth "lower this year than last" and "23 million people out of work or stropped looking for work."

But Obama criticized Romney's prescriptions and his refusal to raise taxes and said, "if you take such an unbalanced approach then that means you are going to be gutting our investment in schools and education ... health care for seniors in nursing homes (and) for kids with disabilities."

Not surprisingly, the two men disagreed over Medicare, a flash point since Romney placed Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan on his ticket.

The president repeatedly described Romney's plan as a "voucher program" that would raise out-of-pocket costs on seniors.

He continued, directly addressing the voters at home: "If you're 54 or 55 you might want to listen because this will affect you."

Romney said he doesn't support any changes for current retirees or those close to retirement.

"If you're 60 or 60 and older you don't need to listen further," he said, but he contended that fundamental changes are needed to prevent the system from becoming insolvent as millions of baby boom generation Americans become eligible.

Romney also made a detailed case for repealing Obamacare, the name attached to the health care plan that Obama pushed through Congress in 2010. "It has killed jobs," he said, and argued that the best approach is to "do what we did in my state."

Though he didn't say so, when he was governor Massachusetts passed legislation that required residents to purchase coverage — the so-called individual mandate that conservatives and he oppose on a national level.

Romney also said that Obamacare would cut $716 billion from Medicare over the next decade.

The president said the changes were part of a plan to lengthen the program's life, and he added that AARP, the seniors lobby, supports it.

Jim Lehrer of PBS drew moderator's duties, with Obama getting the first question and Romney the last word.

Five weeks before Election Day, early voting is under way in scattered states and beginning in more every day. Opinion polls show Obama with an advantage nationally and in most if not all of the battleground states where the race is most likely to be decided.

That put particular pressure on Romney to come up with a showing strong enough to alter the course of the campaign.

The sputtering economy served as the debate backdrop, as it has for virtually everything else in the 2012 campaign for the White House. Obama took office in the shadow of an economic crisis but promised a turnaround that hasn't materialized. Economic growth has been sluggish throughout his term, with unemployment above 8 percent since before he took office.

The customary security blended with a festival-like atmosphere in the surrounding area on a warm and sunny day. The Lumineers performed for free, and Black Eyed Peas frontman delivered a pep talk of sorts to Obama's supporters. School officials arranged to show the debate on monitors outside the hall for those without tickets.

There was local political theater, too, including female Romney supporters wearing short shorts and holding signs that said, "What War On Women?" — a rebuttal to claims by Obama and the Democrats.

Both campaigns engaged in a vigorous pre-debate competition to set expectations, each side suggesting the other had built-in advantages.

Romney took part in 19 debates during the campaign for the Republican primary early in the year. The president has not been onstage with a political opponent since his last face-to-face encounter with Arizona Sen. John McCain, his Republican rival in 2008.

Obama and Romney prepared for the evening with lengthy practice sessions. Romney selected Ohio Sen. Rob Portman as a stand-in for the president; Obama turned to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry to play the Republican role.

The two presidential rivals also are scheduled to debate on Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y., and Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla.

Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have one debate, Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky. Both men have already begun holding practice sessions.


Armstrong 5 years, 7 months ago

Barry looked way off his game tonight. I actually thought he would offer up a much netter debate then he did.

SnakeFist 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm a fan of Obama and I have to admit he seemed unprepared, unenergized, and performed terribly. Obama didn't even maintain eye contact during his closing statement. He reminded me of Bush repeating "its hard work" over and over again. Romney was at his best, and Obama was at his worst. If Romney wins the election, I think it will be because of tonight's debate.

Bob Forer 5 years, 7 months ago

I have to agree with you. Obama was flat and out of synch. Romney was animated and energized. Neither candidate said much, but that's irrelevant, because in these debates, perception is everything. And frankly, I think most undecided voters came away with the perception that Romney performed much better. Last week the election was Obama's to lose. Now its a toss-up.

DanR 5 years, 7 months ago

Debate between a president and a used car salesman.

Alexander Smith 5 years, 7 months ago

hey dude. take off your horse blinders and actually do some research. Perfect example of how Romney will screw us over is lookng at the federal budget for 2013. Expense is 3.6 trillion.. incme 2.5.. taxes. Huge deficit. Under Romney, hew would cut back on the discretionary which is SS, FEMA, other stuff that supports us. The non-d won't be touched. Even if we would shut down ALL the discretinary funds we are still almost a trillion in deficit. And Romney wants to cut taxes so our deficit now skyrockets past 2 trillion? Dude.. wake up.

Also, if you actually educate yourself.. which is obvious you lack much of, the USA has fallend to 24th as the most economically stable countries in the world..why you may ask.. because the free-market is not regulated like it should be. All of the countries in the top 15 are systems that have some for of free-market with governemtn control. HUMMMM sort of shoots your idea in the foot doesn't it?

Also, the economy doesnt' collapse overnight. It started with Bush and Clinton and Reagon.. The unemployment downslide was STOPPED by Obama mid-term and recouped. It takes time for a economy to crash.. all which occured PRIOR to Obama..

Also.. if you do your research.. which I doubt you will do.. middle class and local business have ALWAYS performed better under deomcratic rule..not GOP. Local business has suffered horribly under GOP rule.

Go do research before you blab. I would post all the reference links but its a waste for peole like you and the GOP.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

"Also, if you actually educate yourself.. which is obvious you lack much of, the USA has fallend to 24th as the most economically stable countries in the world"

Irony. It makes the world go round.

Alexander Smith 5 years, 7 months ago

I admit, Obama could of done better, and he will. One thing for sure.. before all you anti-Obama say he was "crushed" by Romney.. on the CNN Pole.. umm take a better look. The pole was a random sample of 430 people.

Its like reaching in the had and by pure luck you grab more red votes then blue. No sane person will call that a valid pole.

Anyway, I can't wait for Biden and Ryan on Foreign Poicy.. Ryan has NO experience.. Biden is going to fry him at the gates.

Obama will really shine the other debates because Romney has so little experience on foreign policy its emberrasng.

Its going to be a close race and the first debate by far doesnot show WHO will win. The current poles still show Obama winning as does the other institutions that predict stuff like this and are usually right.

KSWingman 5 years, 7 months ago

I'd have more faith in your political acumen if you knew the difference between "poll" and "pole". A "poll" is a statistical sample of people designed to determine opinion or preference. A "pole" is what single mothers dance on.

"Biden is going to fry him at the gates". Are you referring to the same Master Debater who admitted, just today, that his boss' administration "buried" the middle class for the past four years?

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

"The pole was a random sample of 430 people."

Have you ever taken a pole?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

I took a Czech to the bank to cash a check.

Fossick 5 years, 7 months ago

"Have you ever taken a pole?"

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Relationships are two-sided affairs. If there is a crisis, it's got way more to do with Israeli refusal to do anything to improve their relationship with the Palestinians, whose land they've been stealing for the last 60 plus years.

beatrice 5 years, 7 months ago

Romney won and probably stopped the bleeding his campaign has been experiencing, but I don't think it is enough to overcome the 47% statement or the clear idea that Romney really does care more about the wealthy than the rest of the nation. It was a win, but no stunning victory. It was a marginally better performance of Romney stating his case. I doubt either candidate won over many undecided voters, and I doubt even more that anyone who already has made up their mind are going to switch from one candidate to the other based on this debate.

A poor performance by Romney would have killed his campaign completely. He did not do that, so congrats to him -- in not failing he is the winner.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 7 months ago

I don't dislike Romney, but when he talks about Medicare and Social Security, he makes me mad. He's basically trying to make the old happy and screwing the younger generation. He's trying to have his cake an eat it too.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 7 months ago

Srj- you do realize that status quo social security which will entirely be bankrupt within 20 years ALSO screws the younger generation correct? This issue is a metaphor for the campaign as a whole; Romney presents a plan and is instantly criticized largely for admitting a problem exists. Will his plan work? Maybe not. But Obama's solution of maintaining course and denying the problem exists in the first place is naive at best.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

Obama looked ashamed most of the time.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

The Teleprompter Of The United States cried itself to sleep last night. It thinks it could have saved the day for the current resident of 1600 Penn Ave.

Dan Eyler 5 years, 7 months ago

The president is a guy who reads the insert of a book for the talking points but simply doesn't have substance. We have seen the real community organizer. I think we have a president who really doesn't have specifics and he can attack Romney but the focus from here on out will have to defend his record. That is starting to sink in.

Sharon Nottingham 5 years, 7 months ago

I just wanted to hear more details from both candidates...very disappointing debate...a forensics class could have done better.

cowboy 5 years, 7 months ago

Obama was not prepared to enter this fistfight. Factually he was fine , energy wise he was not able to take advantage and confront Romney with the plethora of flips , flops , and hollow plans that he spewed out. Don't think any ones mind was changed by this debate but Romney did / could energize his base a bit. I kept saying to myself come on Obama , throw the left hook but he kept it in his pocket. Next....Crazy Uncle Joe versus The intellectual brain of the republicans.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

I didn't see the debate live, but have seen a good deal of it in replay.

Given his strong lead in the polls, Obama went in just hoping to hold his own. As others have noted, he was probably a bit too tentative, and didn't press Romney as much as he should have. But his record in his first term has been very centrist, so defending that is difficult because he can't play to a strictly partisan base.

Romney needed to make up ground, and came out swinging, and while that aggressiveness might have pleased his supporters, he shied away from any real specifics, mostly because doing so would betray the class warfare at the heart of his and the GOP's agenda.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

But what does "winning" this debate mean? Romney offered nothing that's going to improve the lives of the vast majority of Americans. He's still a plutocrat offering up a plutocratic agenda. And I saw nothing in his debate performance that indicates that he'd govern otherwise.

Just because neither Lehrer nor Obama made him defend that agenda changes the reality of what a disaster he'd be for the vast majority of voters.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

That should have read "doesn't change the reality ...."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Good for you. All the same, his retyping says it much better, don't you think?

Justin Anderson 5 years, 7 months ago

It seems the general consensus is that Romney won the debate, did they show a different debate at the Dole center or is Rothschild just very biased? Reading that article it seems Obama at least won slightly, but having watched the debate and the general response afterward, this story seems way off base. I watched MSNBC after and even Maddow seemed to think Romney. Could anyone bill more biased than Hannity and Maddow? it appears we have a winner, Congrats to Scott, MSNBC should be calling shortly.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

If this were a football game, it's the fourth quarter, 5 minutes left, and Romney is down by 10 points. Obama goes into a prevent defense, and Romney goes down the field and scores a touchdown.

Now there are 3 minutes left, Obama has the ball, and is up by a field goal.

Maddy Griffin 5 years, 7 months ago

Major flip-flopping, lying and bullying the moderator does not a winner make. And still No specifics.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

A war for oil foreign policy is not a smart choice one that needs to be pulled off the table. Any such war action should be decided by the people who will be responsible for the safety of the troops. That would be the military leadership NOT politicians with a private agenda. IF the military leadership had been the deciding factors the USA would be in the oil for war quandry today...... a war that commenced under Reagan/Bush. This war has been around for nearly 30 years. Thousands of troops are dead. More thousands of troops are disabled.

It should also be noted that shortly after news of Neil Bush’s involvement in the Reagan/Bush savings and loan home loan scandal hit the press his father, George Bush Sr., announced the Desert Storm campaign in Iraq, which subsequently had the result of making Neil’s name quickly fade from the headlines.

This long term war for oil lacks diplomacy.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.