While most presidential debates have hardly been remembered for their substance, the Oct. 3 face-off between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney might be the exception.
During the 90-minute exchange of rhetoric at the University of Denver in Colorado, Obama firmly stood ground surrounding his accomplishments of the past four years. However, it was Romney who appeared to do the better job detailing his plans to ensure America as a stronger world force in the event he wins the election on Nov. 6.
According to the polls, 42 percent of the estimated 50 million people who tuned for the debate (moderated by Jim Lehrer of the Public Broadcast System) believed Romney took the lead. Twenty-two percent showed confidence in Obama -- and the others were counted as undecided.
This is a partial transcript of the debate:
Obama said he hasn't been a perfect president, but that he promised to, and has helped the middle class by reducing their taxes by $3,600 per family.
Romney said he won't put into place a tax cut that adds to the deficit, and that he will lower taxes for middle income families.
Obama said that under his efforts to turn around the economy, 97 percent of small businesses will not see their taxes escalate.
Romney wants to tackle unemployment as an efficient means to balancing the budget.
Obama said 23 million jobs have been created by his administration.
Romney said the $5 trillion tax cut is not part of his plan and that raising taxes slows the economy. He said that 24 million people remain out of work or have stopped looking for jobs.
Obama noted that when he took office in 2008, there was a deficit in excess of $1 trillion which equated to "a massive economic crisis." He added that a major difference between him and Romney is in spending cuts.
Romney said he will propose, "without question," to make sure Medicare and social security are in place for younger generations. He also wants health care replealed, saying that under Obama, "it's too expensive."
Obama countered that by repealing health care, 150 million people would lose coverage at a time when it would be vitally important.
To that end, "This is where budgets matter, because budgets reflect choices," said Obama.
Romney said he has no plans to cut education funding; that the role of government is not to become an economic player but to operate efficiently.
Said Obama: I will take ideas from anybody . . . that's how we won the war in Iraq . . . We've seen progress, but part of being a leader is being able to [convey] what [one] will do."