Obama and Romney fight about US economy at debate
Updated: 2012-10-04 11:38
Romney needs victory more
Romney was in need of a victory at the debate to help him put his campaign back on a positive footing after a rocky few weeks.
The former Massachusetts governor was damaged by a hidden-camera videotape in which he said 47 percent of voters were dependent on government and unlikely to support him.
Obama, holding a slight edge in national polls and leading Romney in some swing states where the election will be decided, was looking in the debate to do avoid harming his position as the apparent front-runner.
The debate moderated by PBS anchor Jim Lehrer was the best opportunity to date to reach large numbers of voters in an unfiltered way, with an estimated television audience of 60 million possible.
President Barack Obama embraces his wife Michelle (L) as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney embraces his wife Ann while moderator Jim Lehrer (R) looks on at the end of the first presidential debate in Denver, Oct 3, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
Both men have been under pressure to provide more specific details on how to get America's economy surging again after a prolonged recovery from recession.
Obama charged that Romney's plan to reduce income taxes by 20 percent across the board and eliminate some tax deductions would leave middle-class Americans paying more taxes, an allegation that Romney vociferously denied.
"The fact is that if you are lowering the rates the way you described, Governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. It's - it's math. It's arithmetic," Obama said.
Replied Romney, "Virtually everything he said about my tax plan is inaccurate."
The debate was the first of three such face-offs scheduled in the next four weeks. Biden and Romney's running mate, US Representative Paul Ryan, will also debate once, on Oct 11.