It's show time: Obama, Romney meet in first debate

Primed for a showdown, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney left their practice sessions behind today for a prime-time debate before millions with the power to settle the race for the White House in tough economic times.
AP Wire
Oct 3, 2012

Tonight's encounter (9 p.m. EDT start time) is the first of three for the candidates. By agreement between the rival campaigns, it will focus on the economy and other domestic issues.

Jim Lehrer of PBS drew moderator's duties, with Obama getting the first question and Romney the last word.

The two candidates paid separate visits to the debate hall on the campus of the University of Denver during the day to familiarize themselves with the surroundings.

Five weeks before Election Day, early voting is under way in scattered states and beginning in more every day. Opinion polls show Obama with an advantage nationally and in most if not all of the battleground states where the race is most likely to be decided.

That put particular pressure on Romney to come up with a showing strong enough to alter the course of the campaign.

The sputtering economy served as the debate backdrop, as it has for virtually everything else in the 2012 campaign for the White House. Obama took office in the shadow of an economic crisis but promised a turnaround that hasn't materialized. Economic growth has been sluggish throughout his term, with unemployment above 8 percent since before he took office.

The customary security blended with a festival-like atmosphere in the surrounding area on a warm and sunny day. The Lumineers and Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am performed for free, and school officials arranged to show the debate on monitors outside the hall for those without tickets.

There was local political theater, too, including female Romney supporters wearing short shorts and holding signs that said, "What War On Women?" — a rebuttal to claims by Obama and the Democrats.

Both campaigns engaged in a vigorous pre-debate competition to set expectations, each side suggesting the other had built-in advantages.

Romney took part in 19 debates during the campaign for the Republican primary early in the year. The president has not been onstage with a political opponent since his last face-to-face encounter with Arizona Sen. John McCain, his Republican rival in 2008.

Obama and Romney prepared for the evening with lengthy practice sessions. Romney selected Ohio Sen. Rob Portman as a stand-in for the president; Obama turned to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry to play the Republican role.

The two presidential rivals also are scheduled to debate on Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y., and Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla.

Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have one debate, Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky. Both men have already begun holding practice sessions.

Comments

Lanivan

Let's see - are you calling me a fool and "in a fog"? Perhaps I see the big picture and you do not? And your comment, to which I responded, was not dealing with Obama and debate, but Romney and the debate. Please stay on-topic and don't get off-track. Changing the subject doesn't strengthen your argument. Let's stay focused on the topic you brought up - Romney and the debate.

Wingmaster

You're right I stand corrected. Obama did not show up for the debate!!

Blocked

Our country is 16 trillion in debt. Id rather have a business man in charge than a community organizer NWO/UN puppet who isn't even a citizen. Liberalism/Communism is a disease that will destroy our country. If we all jump in the little red wagon, who's going to pull it. It makes me sad I have to get up at 5 am and work two job, including weekends and I see people with bridge cards getting into cars 10 years newer than mine. Look around the country. The most crappy crime drug ridden communities are run by liberals. That's a fact. Oh, the Republicans freed the slaves. The Democrats voted against it. And the south freed the slaves before the north did.

Lanivan

You and Wingmaster have both brought up Romney as businessman. When most of us think of a business, we think growth, development, enterprise, building or manufacturing or servicing a segment of our society. Romney was none of those things. He was the CEO of a hedge fund. He was a private equity manager. He took wealthy investors money and invested in established and mature businesses. He then did whatever it took to extract the greatest profit from the existing business to give his wealthy investors the greatest return on their investment. If that meant firing people, outsourcing jobs overseas, closing down businesses, so be it. His most important and actually sole concern was to his wealthy investors. It was profit through destruction. He never actually built and managed a business, hired, trained, educated, motivated, or promoted employees. He didn't manage or steer a business through hard economic times or through periods of expansion. He saw employees, benefits, people's futures strictly in a monetary sense. He was very good at this, and made lots of money for himself (already born and raised in a very wealthy, privileged family) and his wealthy investors. There is nothing wrong with this - it's the American way! - but America and it's government is not a business. Romney tells us he put his excess wealth in tax-free Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Island tax shelters, and creative manipulations with IRA's and the like, which has allowed him to live off capital gains and pay an income rate of 12-14%. He also gave 10% in charitable contributions to the Mormon Church. And all this during a time of 2 wars. (Off-topic - did you know that neither Romney now any one in his family, including his 5 adult sons has served in the US military - but he's all about starting another war with Iran???). Please show me the patriotism, cause I'm not seeing it. We are his pawns in the money and power game, just as he is the pawn of the money and power people

Wingmaster

...and Obama has done what to qualify HIM for president? Don't forget to include what branch of the service he was in. Wow, your a beauty!!

Lanivan

For starters, both his grandmother and grandfather served in WWII. Obama was born in 1961, and there was no war in 1980 when he was 19 (unlike Romney who could have served in the Vietnam War, but instead chose to live in France on a Mormon missionary assignment). He grew up in a modest household where education was a priority (both his grandmother and mother were leaders in their fields) with lots of love from his Kansas-born grandparents and mother, and with an absent father. Through sheer intellect and ambition (no family wealth and privilege), he graduated from Columbia, Harvard Law School, was first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, chose to be a community organizer with poor folks in South Chicago, taught Constitutional Law at U of Chicago, became an Illinois state senator, and then US senator, then President by the age of 50. I am proud of his accomplishments, his decency, his intellect, his ability to reach for and live the American Dream. He pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, and shows his appreciation by governing for all the people, not just the wealthy investors. The contrast between the story of Romney and Obama couldn't be greater. NOW - with your scathing, demeaning, and belittling remarks - what have YOU accomplished in the last 30 years?

Wingmaster

My oh my, aren't we testy tonight. You still have not told me what qualifies him to be president. He has LED nothing and has not created a job in any of his "career". Oh and by the way his grand parents service does not qualify as HIS service. Again, Wow you are something!

Lanivan

Thanks for the opportunity to give some more facts. When Obama took office in Jan 2009, the deficit was at $1.4Trillion. By the end of his 4 years Dec 2012 - it will be at $1.1Trillion. Just so you understand - the deficit has gone DOWN. As far as creating jobs in the renewable energy sector, out of 26 loan recipients, 23 are still operating and employing lots of people. The number of jobs created under Obama in 2009-2012 now exceeds the number created under Bush in years 2005-2009. Just so you understand - job creation has gone UP with Obama. I think you got off-track again regarding military service in Obama's family vs Romney's family. No one in Romney's family, back many generations, ever served in the US military. Obama's grandparents served in WWII. I appreciate their service. Don't you? Hoover was our last businessman president, and look how great that turned out......(in case you don't know, Herbert Hoover was president who led the country into the Great Depression - he made his fortune building railroads and hiring thousands of Chinese coolies paying them a few cents/day - but he did create jobs!). And don't forget, Romney is NOT a businessman who creates, hires, or manages people. He is a BANKER, who does whatever is necessary to make money for his associates and investors. He was never in the business of job creation.

Wingmaster

Please focus....what has Obama done that qualifies HIM for being president? Your blather regarding the deficit is stunningly false. Such creative accounting for the numbers on his deficit. Hey why didn't he just bring all of that up during the debate? Seems he would have been extremely proud of that accomplishment If It were real!!

Vladtheimp

"Thanks for the opportunity to give some more facts. When Obama took office in Jan 2009, the deficit was at $1.4Trillion. By the end of his 4 years Dec 2012 - it will be at $1.1Trillion."

Some fog-cutting, friend Lanivan. In federal appropriations, deficits are ANNUAL - at the end of the fiscal year they are added to the National Debt and new deficit accounting begins. Obama, according to his own budget numbers, has run deficits (real or projected for 2013) as follows: $1.293 trillion in 2010, $1.300 trillion in 2011, $1.327 trillion in 2012, and $901 billion in 2013. In addition, Obama is responsible for the estimated $200 billion (the Congressional Budget Office’s figure) that his economic “stimulus” added to the deficit in 2009. Moreover, he shouldn’t get credit for the $149 billion in TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) repayments made in 2010 and 2011 to cover most of the $154 billion in bank loans that remained unpaid at the end of the 2009 fiscal year — loans that count against President Bush's 2009 deficit.

Adding all of this up, deficit spending during Obama’s four years in the White House (based on his own figures) will be an estimated $5.170 trillion — or $5,170,000,000,000.00.

To help put that colossal sum of money into perspective, if you take our deficit spending under Obama and divide it evenly among the roughly 300 million American citizens, that works out to just over $17,000 per person — or about $70,000 for a family of four.

You might want to check for yourself the difference between "deficit" and "debt" before you so readily spew democrat talking points provided by people who are either ignorant or simply dishonest

Lanivan

I stand corrected, Vlad.....thanks for setting me straight. I should have consulted you first, before reading the numbers put out by several bipartisan economic reports and the CBO - those nasty PHD economists, who of course, are all Democrats just itchin' to cook the books. ;-)

Vladtheimp

Your sarcasm notwithstanding, my description of deficits being annual, and the total of deficits as added to the national debt, is accurate. Maybe you will be less skeptical if I quote a source you can subscribe to: CBS

(CBS News) The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama's three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency.

The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.

The latest posting from the Bureau of Public Debt at the Treasury Department shows the National Debt now stands at $15.566 trillion. It was $10.626 trillion on President Bush's last day in office, which coincided with President Obama's first day.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-5035...

43°North

Look at the signs in the yards around your community. They are overwhelmingly for Obama. He will be the first Dem Pres to win a majority of votes in Ottawa County! Republicans are desperate (shown by his/their barrage of lies) and ashamed of Romney (as they should be), and will vote for Obama (shhh), or just stay home.

opinionscount

If you want to see desperate, be sure to google Obamas latest attack ad featuring Big Bird as a more clear sign and indication of the word "desperate".

PeopleAreAmazing

DId everyone see the latest polls? Romney is leading! Awesome news! Have a great day!

opinionscount

Update: Even more hysterical...."Sesame Street Asks Obama To Take Down Big Bird Attack Ad!" lol!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...

PeopleAreAmazing

Let's all just take a break - and enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o...

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