Presidential Debate - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Presidential Debate

President Obama and Mitt Romney shook hands at the start of their first debate. The two nominees faced off at the University of Denver, in a discussion focused on domestic issues - in particular, the economy.

"Are we going to double down on the top-down economic policies that got us into this mess or maybe it's time for a new economic patriotism?" asked the president.

"I know what it takes to get small business growing again - to hire people. I'm concerned about the path we're on is unsuccessful," said Romney.

The candidates also sounded of on taxes.

Romney promised, "I will not under any circumstance raise taxes on middle income families."

The president responded, "For 18 months he's been talking about this tax plan and now his big bold idea is 'Never mind.'"

The TV audience for this debate was estimated to be more than 50 million. But with the race so close, both candidates were interested in reaching the relatively few voters who have not yet made up their minds. The second half of the debate was focused on issues including health care.

"(Obamacare) has killed jobs. The best course for health care is to do what we did in my state... Craft a plan at the state level," said Romney.

"When Obamacare is fully implemented, we're going to be in a position to show that costs are going down," said Obama.

The candidates will debate two more times - next up is a town hall meeting at Hofstra University in New York. The vice presidential nominees will debate next week.

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