U.S. presidential debate: Obama, Romney spar over economy

Thursday, October 04, 2012
Denver: U.S. President Barack Obama and his Republican Party rival in the upcoming presidential election, Mitt Romney sparred aggressively in their first televised debate here in the city of Denver, Colorado on Wednesday night. 

The 90-minute debate was focused on domestic issues, including the economy, taxes, job growth, and the government deficit over the years.

Striking chord with the U.S. people in a high stakes presidential debate Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts Governor and candidate for the top job accused Barack Obama of misrepresenting his positions.

During entire debate Republican nominee Romney appeared to dominate the first presidential debate, leaving his opponent, President Barack Obama defending on the back foot. 

"I think it's frankly not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation, and they are going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives, and the amount of debt we are adding at a trillion a year is simply not moral," Romney charged.

Obama in turns accused his rival of seeking to “double down” on economic and job policies that was the reason for the devastating national economic downfall four years ago.

"And we know where it came from: two wars that were paid for on a credit card, two tax cuts that were not paid for, and a whole bunch of programs that were not paid for and then a massive economic crisis," Obama added, "and despite that, what we've said is, 'Yes we had to take some initial emergency measures to make sure we don't slip into a great depression,' but what we've also said is, 'Let's make sure we're cutting those things that are not helping us grow.'"

Obama added he had a different vision than his challenger Romney.

"And so the question here tonight is not where we've been, but where we're going. Governor Romney has a perspective that says if we cut taxes, skewed toward the wealthy, and roll back regulations, that we'll be better off. I've got a different view," the U.S. leader said.

Obama outlined his recipe for turning around the U.S. economy.

"I think we've got to invest in education and training," Obama explained. "I think it's important for us to develop new sources of energy here in America; that we change our tax code to make sure that we're helping small businesses and companies that are investing here in the United States; that we take some of the money we're saving as we wind down two wars to rebuild America."

Romney said the policies of President Obama were "not the right answer for America."

"The president has a view very similar to the one he had when he ran for office four years ago, that a bigger government, spending more, taxing more, regulating more, if you will, trickle-down government would work," Romney said.

Furthermore, Romney denied he planned to cut taxes for the wealthy, as charged by Obama.

"And the answer is yes, we can help, but it's going to take a different path, not the one we've been on, not the one the president describes as top-down, cut taxes for the rich.  That's not what I'm going to do," Romney added.

Obama said he faced a huge deficit coming into office, and that matters were made worse by the economic crisis. "When I walked into the Oval Office, I had more than a trillion-dollar deficit greeting me," he said.  

Though 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."

U.S. election is on November 6,  i.e. more than a month is left,  many Americans have already started casting ballots because some states allow early voting. That put extra pressure on Romney to come up with a showing strong enough to alter the course of the campaign.

The country is left with two more debates of the session that have been scheduled separately on Oct. 16 in New York and Oct. 22 in Florida.

Vice President Joe Biden and Romney's running mate, congressman Paul Ryan, have one debate, Oct. 11, in Kentucky.

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