Romney v Obama - who won?
Thu, 04 Oct 2012 6:12p.m.
By Simon Shepherd
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney faced off in the first US presidential debate this afternoon, and Mr Romney's performance became the talking point.
The polls put the two men neck and neck in the race to the White House, so neither could afford to slip.
The subject was the domestic economy, although it started with domestic bliss: today was President Obama's 20th wedding anniversary.
“And a year from now we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people,” he said to his wife, Michelle Obama, in the audience.
His opponent also remarked on the occasion.
“I am sure this is the most romantic place you could spend it – here with me.”
But Mr Romney had no congratulations for Mr Obama’s last four years.
“Under the president’s polices middle Americans have been buried, they have been crushed,” he said.
The president's counter cast Mr Romney's policies as un-costed tax cuts for the rich.
“You don’t come close to paying for $5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending,” he said.
Detail from one was countered by detail from the other, although Mr Romney sometimes took exception.
“Mr President you are entitled to your own plane and your own house, but not your own facts."
Mr Obama’s healthcare policy was also discussed. The president says it was designed for the less well-off.
“It was families who were worried sick about going bankrupt if they got sick, millions of families,” he said.
But Mr Romney used it to showcase what he sees as a loss of focus during the president’s first term.
“I don’t know how the president could have come into office facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the kitchen table, and spend his energy and passion fighting for Obamacare instead of fighting for jobs for the American people.”
Mr Romney has had to take part in 15 debates to get the Republican nomination. The last time Mr Obama debated on stage was 2008, and commentators today called him rusty.
With his opponent showing strongly, Mr Obama will have to fight hard in the second debate if he wants that second term.
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