The first of the presidential debates featured President Obama asking voters to stay the course and Mitt Romney arguing that change is necessary because the "middle class is being crushed."
InstaPolls showed Romney was the winner.
Obama opened by wishing Michelle a happy 20th anniversary. When he got to his first real remarks, he pivoted to a familiar theme: "The question tonight is not where we've been, but where we're going."
Romney congratulated Obama on his anniversary, and added a joke. "I'm sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine, here with me." He then laid out his familiar broad themes, including energy independence and a balanced budget.
Obama: “Governor Romney has a perspective that says if we cut taxes skewed toward the wealthy and cut back regulations, we’ll be better off. I have a different view.”
Romney: "Virtually everything [Obama] has just said about my tax plan is inaccurate... I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut. ... We ought to apply tax relief to people in the middle class, but I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. I’m not looking to cut massive taxes."
Health care: Romney said he likes his Massachusetts plan because it was done in bipartisan fashion, unlike Obama's.
Education: After Obama accused Romney of seeking to cut funds, the challenger responded, "Mr. President, you're entitled to your own airplane and your own house, but not your own facts."
Obama criticized Romney for being vague on details for his various reform plans. "At some point the American people have to ask themselves: Is the reason Governor Romney is keeping all these plans secret, is it because they're going to be too good? Because middle class families benefit too much? No."
Big Bird: Romney told moderator Jim Lehrer that he would cut PBS funds. He said, "I'm sorry Jim. I'm gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm gonna stop other things. I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you too."
CNN poll: 67% of those responding said Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate; 25% said President Obama won. Romney’s 67 percent in the CNN insta-poll is the highest number they’ve ever recorded after a debate.
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