Summary of First Presidential Debate:
However, with tremendous economic issues at stake, the debate shouldn't be judged based on style, but rather on substance. Moderator Jim Lehrer created questions that covered the following six topics for 15 minutes each, a total of 90 minutes.
- The Economy and Jobs.
- The Economy and the Budget Deficit.
- The Economy and Regulation.
- Health Care.
- The Role of Government.
1. How Would You Create Jobs?:
Romney: His plan has five parts: Energy independence, more trade, training, a balanced budget, and championing small businesses.
2. How Would You Tackle the Deficit Problem?Romney: Eliminate Obamacare. Cut subsidy to PBS. Send some programs to the state. Combine agencies and departments, and reduce the number of Federal employees through attrition.
Obama: For every $2.50 in spending cuts, would require $1 in additional taxes to the wealthy ($250,000+ household income).
Do You Support Simpson-Bowles?Romney: I have a different plan.
Obama: We've made adjustments and submitted the revised plan to Congress as part of our proposal to save $4 trillion in the budget deficit.
How Would You Handle Taxes?:
Obama: Cut $4 billion a year in subsidies to oil companies. Lower corporate tax rate by eliminating tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. Obama and Romney then debated whether Romney's tax cut plan would reduce government revenue by $5 trillion and whether Romney's spending plan would add $2 trillion to federal defense spending.
Is There a Major Difference on Social Security?:
Romney: Supports voucher program for future retirees to give them choice between private insurance and Medicare. Reduce benefits for higher income people.
3. How Is the Level of Federal Regulation Now?:
Obama: Dodd-Frank imposed higher capital requirements on banks. "Too Big to Fail" means that banks must have a "living will" that describes how they will wind down when they get in trouble, instead of expecting the Federal government to bail them out. The bailouts that were given have been repaid with interest.
4. Should Obamacare Be Repealed?:
Obama: I would keep Obamacare because it provides the following benefits. It provides coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. Health insurance companies can't impose arbitrary lifetime limits. They have to pay you back if they spend too much of your premium on administration and advertising. Children can stay on their parents' plan until age 26. You can keep your existing coverage. It allows you to pay a lower, group health insurance rate if you have to buy your own insurance. It provides a subsidy for those who can't afford private health insurance. It pays the states to add more low income families to Medicaid. It closes the donut hole for those on Medicare. The board simply advises on best practices.
5. What Is the Proper Role of Government?:
Romney: Protect life and liberty, and the rights of people to make decisions for themselves. Better schools. Provide vouchers for disabled and other children to allow them to attend the school of their choice. Romney agreed with Obama's programs to boost education.
Obama countered that Romney's tax cuts would force a 20% reduction in federal education spending. Romney replied "no way," and countered that Obama's $90 billion in green jobs could have hired 2 million teachers.
6. How Would You Overcome Legislative Gridlock?:
Obama: In addition to sitting down, you've got to have a plan. And if the leaders from the other side won't go along with the plan, and you think it's for the benefit of the nation, then you've got to take a leadership position and be willing to say no, if that's what it takes. (Sources: ABC News, Presidential Debate Transcript, October 4, 2012; NPR, Live Blog, Obama and Romney's First Debate, October 3, 2012)
There was also a debate on October 11 between Vice-President Joe Biden and and the Republican VP nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan in Danville, Kentucky. See a summary of the Vice-Presidential Debate.Article updated October 23, 2012.