OBAMA, ROMNEY SOUND OFF IN FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) went head-to-head Wednesday night in the first round of presidential debates in the 2012 election.
Among the topics discussed by the two candidates were the economy, health care and the role of government in the U.S.
On healthcare, Romney said he would repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and wants to give states control over how to handle health insurance coverage of its residents while Obama favors standardizing eligibility for health insurance coverage.
“Obama and Romney plans are similar but their incentives are importantly different,” said Paul Reitemeier, chair of Grand Valley State University’s Human Research Review Committee.
Both would require coverage with cash penalties for people choosing to not buy insurance and inversed penalties for employers not providing insurance to employees.
“Neither plan is fully comprehensive in coverage; estimates are that by 2022 Obama would reduce those without insurance from 47 to 27 million while Romney would increase the number of uncovered to 72 million,” Reitemeier said.
Both candidates agreed that giving young people a strong, educational foundation is key to speeding up slow recovery of the economy; however, in terms of the role of the federal government in the equation, Romney and Obama differed.
“And what we’re seeing right now is, in my view, — a trickle-down government approach, which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams,” Romney said in response to Obama’s plans to hire 100,000 more math and science teachers. “And it’s not working. And the proof of that is 23 million people out of work. The proof of that is one out of six people in poverty. The proof of that is we’ve gone from 32 million on food stamps to 47 million on food stamps. The proof of that is that 50 percent of college graduates this year can’t find work.”
Romney’s indication that he wants to cut taxes on the wealthy, Obama said, will require cutting federal support for education, backing it up with budget numbers from Romney’s running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).
“If you extrapolated how much money we’re talking about, you’d look at cutting the education budget by up to 20 percent,” Obama said.
Romney said he had no plans to cut education funding or the grants that go to college students, and said the best way to boost our higher education system is by making college “more efficient and more effective.”
“How do we make the private sector become more efficient and more effective? How do we get schools to be more competitive? Let’s grade them. I propose we grade our schools so parents know which schools are succeeding and failing, so they can take their child to a school that he’s being more successful,” Romney said. “I don’t want to cut our commitment to education. I wanted to make it more effective and efficient. And by the way, I’ve had that experience. I don’t just talk about it. I’ve been there. Massachusetts schools are ranked number one in the nation. This is not because I didn’t have commitment to education. It’s because I care about education for all of our kids.”
Taking banks and lenders out of the equation, he said, has allowed his administration to provide millions more students with federal assistance and keep interest rates on student loans low.
“Governor Romney, I genuinely believe cares about education, but when he tells a student that, you know, “you should borrow money from your parents to go to college,” you know, that indicates the degree to which, you know, there may not be as much of a focus on the fact that folks like myself, folks like Michelle, kids probably who attend University of Denver, just don’t have that option,” Obama said. “And for us to be able to make sure that they’ve got that opportunity and they can walk through that door, that is vitally important not just to those kids. It’s how we’re going to grow this economy over the long term.”
Most recent Gallup poll numbers put 45 percent of registered voters going with Romney at the polls, and Obama slightly ahead with 49 percent.
The next presidential debate will be on Oct. 16 at 9 p.m. at Hofstra University in New York, but vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will go head-to-head on Oct. 11 at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky on the topic of foreign and domestic policy.
1. “There are a lot of points I want to make tonight, but the most important one is that 20 years ago I became the luckiest man on earth because Michelle Obama agreed to marry me. And so I just want to wish sweetie, you, happy anniversary and let you know that a year from now we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people.”
2. “Under Gov. Romney’s definition, there are a whole bunch of millionaires and billionaires who are small business. Donald Trump is small business. And I know Donald trump doesn’t like to think of himself as small anything.”
3. “By the way, I have become fond of this term Obamacare.”
4. “For 18 months he’s been running on this tax plan and now, five weeks before the election, he is saying that his big, bold idea is … never mind.”
5. “I had five seconds before you interrupted me.”
1. “And congratulations to you, Mr. President, on your anniversary. I’m sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine — here with me!”
2. “Mr. President, you’re entitled to your own house and your own airplane, but not your own facts.”
3. “I’m sorry, Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS… I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too.”
4. “Look, I got five boys. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I will believe it.”
5. “I’ve been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Maybe I need to get a new accountant, but the idea you get a break for shipping jobs overseas, is simply not the case.”