October 4th, 2012
12:16 AM ET

Romney takes debate to Obama over economy, health care

A forceful Mitt Romney went toe-to-toe with President Barack Obama on the dominant issues for voters, challenging the Democrat's policies on the economy, taxes and health care in the first of three debates ahead of the November election.

In exchanges full of policy proposals, facts and figures, the Republican challenger was more aggressive in the 90-minute encounter in criticizing Obama's record and depicting the president's vision as one of big government.

The president firmly defended his achievements and challenged his rival's prescriptions as unworkable.

Neither candidate scored dramatic blows that will make future highlight reels, and neither veered from campaign themes and policies to date.


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Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • President Barack Obama
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. David Rain

    Romney clearly benefited from some intensive coaching which sanded off his rough edges and made him softer and more appealing to women. From the reactions the day after the strategy appears to have worked.

    October 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  2. Gwen Davis

    Did it ever occur to anyone that the President "was not on his game" because of the situation that was developing between Turkey and Syria? Come on... this was happening at the same time Romney was "practicing". I"m sure the President couldn't put world events "on hold" while he rehearsed. In my opinion, he looked tired, not bored... Probably tired because he hadn't had much rest, due to all the briefings on that developing world situation, while trying to squeeze in debate practice... (if he was able to practice at all). While the debates were a #1 priority to the press, I'm sure it took a back seat for the President. A dangerous situation was developing in the world, that would affect everyone, including the United States. If Turkey went to war with Syria, just think about how it would affect the U.S. THINK ABOUT IT! You'd be off your game too if you had to deal with all that!

    October 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  3. Rafael

    First, I would like to point out that I am voting for Obama. That being said, I cannot expressed in just a few words how upset, frustrated, and disappointed I am with his performance last night. I cannot understand how he did not stop Romney when referring to taxes by mentioning the 13% he had paid when most Americans are paying between 25% to 30%. When Romney referred to wanting to put people back to work, why the question as of why Romney’s millions are in overseas banks instead of being here creating jobs, by the way, a tactic to avoid paying his fair share of taxes; money gained in U.S. How come Obama did not mention the 47% of the population Romney wrote off? Why his success in the private market by outsourcing jobs, and closing companies was not referred to? I am so confused that I just can’t get over this. Last night, Obama had the jabs, right, and left combinations to knock Romney out and he did not. Can you tell I am truly upset?

    October 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  4. Ruby Garrett

    First debate .....needs lots of fact checking. Romney just says what he thinks will work with the audience he has at time. It was a true "performance" of Oscar quality, but not representative who this man really is or the policies he will enact with a little help from his friends. I'm the one who became the "mad black man" watching this! (Really, just and old, white woman, teacher.). Guys like Romney.....they really don't even know who the 47% are, and they will never be concerned about any of us. I never got rich trying to educate our children, but I've always been aware that Americans like me are the grease that that turns the wheels in this country....and folks like Romney have always taken advantage of that fact. He turns on a dime!

    October 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  5. Gail Solomon

    As an independent I was overwhelmed at the aggressive personality displayed last night by Romney... Is this the man we want in office that can PULL THE TRIGGER!!!! Or... The thoughtful GUY that weighs the CONSEQUENCE!!!!

    October 4, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  6. naline

    We all know Romeny is a good debater.. but did he explain how to propose the changes he has in mind. I think Obama did that for him. The news keeps saying Romeny demolished Obama. All he did was say words but nothing to back it up. People let's not be fooled, republicans got us in this mess. I promise if Romeny is President, we're doomed. Look what happen when republicans took over congress! Wait and see.…

    October 4, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  7. Joan

    That was a pretty interesting debate. Mitt Romney came in ready to make an impression and he obviously did very well. That is the general consenus on all media outlets. The President made no gaffes but did not challenge in areas where he could have. However, today some of the fact checking is supporting the President and Romney definitely turned off Big Bird supporters. You can bet the Obama campaign is analyzing every statement and will be ready to attack at the next debates and in ads. A big concern is how superficial and fickle American voters can be if they write off a great President just because of one debate. Many reporters have said that Al Gore lost to Bush because of a sigh at a debate. Actually the pro-Conserative Supreme Court had more to do with it but if the voters did rely on the sigh factor, I wonder if they feel guilty about the results. Bush will probably go down as one of the worst, unpopular presidents America has ever had and if Gore had won the world would certainly be a very different place. There may still have been 911, partly due to resentment from the intervention during the Gulf War, but if there had been a war in Afghanistan it would have been fought 100% and probably over years earlier.. Bush's illegal and immoral war in Iraq would not have happened because Hussein did not try to "kill his daddy". When people listen to the fact checkers and when Romney's statements are really disected by both the right and left, it may not be so clear how it went. He said a few things that really aren't consistent with some Conservative talking points. American politics is like a long, drawn out reality show. It is far from over folks.

    October 4, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  8. Pedro O. Flores-Villanueva

    I saw an overstimulated Romney, very well armed with demagogic and cynical arguments, and amazingly, since more than one month, I have seen the “independent” CNN coaching him and campaigning for him. Comments on debate performance went beyond our bad long-term memory, failing to refresh our minds about those responsible for the crisis and those who have worked hard to overcome such a big burden and have felt short because of the Republican opposition. Who are behind you guys?

    October 4, 2012 at 2:20 am |
  9. Geoffrey sendi

    i was disappointed by the pundunts tonight because they dont think we dont follow wahat is going on. they wantaed Obama to go on the atttack, but just because he did not do so it does not mean he lost. ramney did not exsplain any thing he wanted to do in detail. he did not expailn his 47 percent. and i am glad obama did not bring it up because he can still use it any time he wants on the campaign train. i think obama had more detail of what he wanted to do.

    October 4, 2012 at 1:39 am |