May 25, 2013
Obama and Romney battle over economy at debate
Mitt Romney accused US President Barack Obama on Wednesday of promoting "trickle-down government" policies that are burdening the US economy, as the Republican candidate sought to use a high-stakes debate to right his struggling campaign before the Nov. 6 presidential election.
As polls showed Obama with a slight edge among voters, Romney was the aggressor throughout the 90-minute encounter between the two rivals at the University of Denver.
The two men, standing side-by-side for the first time after months of brutal campaign attacks hurled at each other, clashed over taxes, healthcare and the role of government, reflecting the deep ideological divide in Washington.
Appearing poised and well-prepared, Romney zeroed in on weak economic growth and 8.1 percent unemployment that has left Obama vulnerable in his effort to win a second four-year term.
"Now, I'm concerned that we're on the path that's just been unsuccessful. The president has a view very similar to the one he had when he ran for office four years go, that spending more, taxing more, regulating more, if you will, trickle-down government would work. That's not the right answer for America," Romney said.
The debate saw no haymaker punches thrown and not much in the way of one-line zingers. Instead, it was a war of attrition as each man used facts and figures to make his points and stress the differences between them.
Romney, however, may have done himself some favors with crisper answers than Obama, who sounded professorial and a bit long-winded despite his staff's best efforts to get him to give snappier comments.
The incumbent Democrat did put Romney on the defensive about his proposals for overhauling the US tax system.
Obama said Romney was promoting the same kind of tax cut proposals that former President George W. Bush pushed through Congress in 2001 and 2003.
"We ended up moving from surpluses to deficits and it all culminated with the worst recession since the Great Depression," said Obama.
In the face of attacks from Romney that the Obama healthcare overhaul of 2010 will hurt small-business hiring, Obama basically said his healthcare plan was modeled after the program Romney put in place as governor of Massachusetts, and it "hasn't destroyed jobs" there.