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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mitt seizes his moment: Dominant Romney hammers lackluster Obama to claim undisputed victory in first presidential face off

-Mitt Romney came out swinging as he came face to face with Barack Obama for the first time
-Accused President of misleading references to '$5trillion tax cut' and compared him to his children
-Attacked Obama for doubling deficit after promising to halve it
-Both accused each other of damaging cuts to healthcare and education
-Challenger sparks internet memes by saying 'I love Big Bird' but promising to slash funding for PBS
-CNN poll shows overwhelming victory for Romney as voters say Republican is better leader than President
-Obama camp admits defeat as top liberals blast President's poor performance

By TOBY HARNDEN IN DENVER and HUGO GYE

Getting along? The two candidates appeared warm towards each other despite their fierce rivalry

Mitt Romney went for the jugular in the first presidential debate tonight, overwhelming a lacklustre President Barack Obama with a relentlessly forceful performance that could give a significant boost to his White House hopes.
Trailing by several points in the polls, the Republican challenger needed to put in a strong performance in the first presidential debate in Denver. He more than rose to the occasion with even some of Obama’s most dedicated supporters declaring him the clear winner.

Feeling good: A confident Mitt Romney pictured with his wife, son and grandson after the debate

From the outset, Mr Romney chided Mr Obama for promising to halve America’s annual deficit but instead doubling it and even compared him to a little boy who can’t tell the truth.
‘Look, I’ve got five boys,' he said. 'I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it.’
Hitting Mr Obama with a blizzard of statistics, Mr Romney also hit back hard at what he saw as the President mischaracterising his plans: ‘Virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate.'

Consolation: The Obamas embrace at the end of the evening at Wednesday's debate in Denver

Mr Romney was at the top of his game from the outset, coming across as pithier and punchier than Mr Obama, who seemed taken aback by being confronted so relentlessly and struggled to speak concisely.
The challenger's dominance came despite his having four minutes less talking time than the incumbent - Mr Romney spoke for 38 minutes and 32 seconds, while Mr Obama held the spotlight for 42 minutes and 50 seconds.
A CNN poll of registered voters who watched the debate reflected Mr Romney's perceived victory, as 67 per cent of respondents regarded him as the night's winner compared to just 25 per cent for Mr Obama.

Clashing: The first debate was focussed on domestic policy, especially the economy

Additionally, 58 per cent thought that the Republican came across as a stronger leader than the Democrat, while twice as many said the evening had made them more likely to vote for Mr Romney as said they were swayed towards the President.
At the start, Mr Obama tried to make the debate about the next four years rather than his four years in office, saying: ‘The question here tonight is not where we've been but where we're going.’
But Mr Romney pummelled him repeatedly on the state of the economy. ‘The people who are having the hard time right now are middle-income Americans. Under the president’s policies, middle-income Americans have been buried,’ he said.

A picture tells a thousand words: Mr Romney appeared delighted with his performance at the end of the evening

‘They’re just being crushed. Middle-income Americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. This is a - this is a tax in and of itself. I’ll call it the economy tax. It’s been crushing.
‘At the same time, gasoline prices have doubled under the president. Electric rates are up. Food prices are up. Health care costs have gone up by $2,500 a family. Middle-income families are being crushed.’
He added: ‘The President said that he’d cut the deficit in half. Unfortunately, he doubled it.'
Mr Obama spent much of the debate looking down at his notes and pursing his lips as Mr Romney spoke. He also appeared hesitant at time and his occasional attempts at humour fell flat.

Well done, darling: Both candidates are embraced by their wives at the end of the debate as Jim Lehrer looks on

No hard feelings? The Obamas and the Romneys gather on stage for a lighthearted moment

While Mr Romney maintained his aggressive stance throughout, Mr Obama was surprisingly gentle on his opponent, failing to mention common attack lines on subjects such as Bain Capital outsourcing, the notorious '47 per cent' video and the supposed Republican ‘war on women’.
This is bigger than an election about the two of us as individuals. It’s bigger than our respective parties. It’s an election about the course of America.

Argument: The candidates are hoping to win over undecided voters in key swing states including Colorado

Truce: Michelle Obama greets Ann Romney as they both arrive at the debate in the University of Denver

No bad blood: The two wives seemed to get on as they hugged in front of a large crowd

First Lady? Ann Romney sits in the front row at the debate with her son Tagg

source: dailymail



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