Obama, Romney clash over policy issues in 1st debate

Washington: US President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney today exchanged sharp barbs over major domestic policies ranging from economy, taxation, jobs and healthcare to education during the first of the three high-stake presidential debates.

Aiming to lead the country for next four years, incumbent Obama and his rival Romney during the debate held in Denver presented before their countrymen their vision of America and how they intend to govern for the next four years.

A CNN/ORC poll released just after the 90-minute presidential debate moderated by Jim Lehrer of the PBS news showed that 65-year-old Romney was way ahead of 51-year-old Obama in impressing the voters.

Romney was voted by 67 per cent of the registered voters, while Obama was supported by just 25 per cent. The results gave a big boost to the Romney campaign given that all the national polls shows that it is a tight race between the two.

The debates, a regular feature of American presidential campaigns since 1960, allow a chance to measure up the leaders who would be president as they stand side-by-side.

“I’m concerned about America. I’m concerned about the direction America has been taking over the last four years. I know this is bigger than election about the two of us as individuals. It’s bigger than our respective parties. It’s an election about the course of America – what kind of America do you want to have for yourself and for your children,” Romney said.

Noting that he and Obama present two very different paths for the US, the Republican nominee said they lead in very different directions.

“It is not just looking to our words that you have to take in evidence of where they go; you can look at the record,” he said.

Explaining the reason for him being in the presidential race, Romney said this is because there are people that are really hurting today in this country.

“This deficit could crush the future generations. What’s happening in the Middle East? There are developments around the world that are of real concern. And Republicans and Democrats both love America, but we need to have leadership in Washington that will actually bring people together and get the job done and could not care less if it’s a Republican or a Democrat. I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again,” Romney said.

On his part, Obama argued that he would continue to fight for the people of the country.

“You know, four years ago I said that I’m not a perfect man and I wouldn’t be a perfect president. And that’s probably a promise that Governor Romney thinks I’ve kept. But I also promised that I’d fight every single day on behalf of the American people and the middle class and all those who are striving to get in the middle class,” said the US President.

“Everything that I’ve tried to do and everything that I’m now proposing for the next four years in terms of improving our education system, or developing American energy, or making sure that we’re closing loopholes for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and focusing on small businesses and companies that are creating jobs here in the United States, or closing our deficit in a responsible, balanced way that allows us to invest in our future – all those things are designed to make sure that the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination is channeled, and they have an opportunity to succeed,” Obama said.

The two leaders would debate again on October 16 in New York and October 22 in Florida.

The only vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Romney’s running mate Congressman Paul Ryan will be on October 11 in Kentucky.