President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had a spirited debate Wednesday.
The debate, sponsored by the Commission of Presidential Debates, took place at the University of Denver in Colorado.
Moderator Jim Lehrer, anchor of PBS’ “NewsHour” tried to follow a format of 15 minute segments, but both candidates ran over their allotted time.
The immediate reaction from liberals and conservatives alike favored Romney.
Bill Galston, a former adviser to President Clinton and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told the Wall Street Journal Romney, “almost certainly did himself some good. He conveyed a sense that was more human, more empathetic.”
Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said on CNN that Romney’s primary battle helped him in the debate, giving the former governor a strong showing against the president.
Here are three topics highlighted in the debate, including candidate excerpts and an independent fact-checker.
Obama said, “Bill Clinton tried the approach that I’m talking about. We created 23 million new jobs. We went from deficit to surplus. And businesses did very well.”
Romney said he wants to create 12 million new jobs after going through 43 straight months of an unemployment rate above 8 percent.
According to the Associated Press and Huffington Post, the most recent jobs report in August stated the national unemployment rate is 8.1 percent, but was lower than previous months. The same article also points out that the report says private sector job gains have gone up for 30 consecutive months.
“This is where there’s a difference, because Gov. Romney’s central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut – on top of the extension of the Bush tax cuts – that’s another trillion dollars – and $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn’t asked for,” Obama said. “That’s $8 trillion. How we pay for that, reduce the deficit, and make the investments that we need to make, without dumping those costs onto middle-class Americans, I think is one of the central questions of this campaign.”
“First of all, I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about. My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class,” Romney said. “But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. High-income people are doing just fine in this economy. They’ll do fine whether you’re president or I am.”
Amy Bingham, in-house fact checker at ABC News, said, “So far the only specifics he (Romney) has offered on how to pay for his 20 percent across-the-board rate reduction and collection of other tax cutting measures is to eliminate tax ‘loopholes’ for high income earners. Without these specifics, an analysis by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimated that his tax cuts would strip $5 trillion from federal revenues over the next decade, or $456 billion per year. Romney’s tax plan could add $5 trillion to the deficit. But that is an estimate on an incomplete tax plan.”
Obama accused Romney of supporting a plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program, but according to FactCheck, the former governor’s plan is “structured the same as the system Obama’s health care law sets up for subsidizing private insurance for persons under age 65.”
Conversely, Romney said, “I want to take that $716 billion you’ve cut and put it back into Medicare. By the way, we can include a prescription program if we need to improve it.
But the idea of cutting $716 billion from Medicare to be able to balance the additional cost of Obamacare is, in my opinion, a mistake.”
However, FactCheck said that “these cuts in the future growth of spending prolong the life of the Medicare trust fund, stretching the program’s finances out longer than they would last otherwise.”
[View the story “2012 Presidential Debate” on Storify]2012 Presidential DebatePresident Obama and Mitt Romney discussed domestic policy during the Oct. 3 first presidential debate of 2012. See what people were tweeting about during the debate.
Storified by Daily Sundial · Wed, Oct 03 2012 23:44:35