I am planning to live blog the debate, and I’ll offer my apologies in the case I give it up and just listen. 7:53 pm CDT, a moderator, looks like Leher is taking a seat. Debate held at University of Denver. Note that all remarks in brackets [ ] are mine. Obviously, I have had to paraphrase. This is not a word for word translation or quotations.
AFTER THE DEBATE NOTES: I love Romney’s line when Obama kept repeating incorrect information about Obama’s tax plan. He said: I lived with 5 boys. I know what happens when someone keeps repeating the same thing over and over and hopes someone will believe it.
Marco Rubio is on with Hannity right now (10:12 pm CDT). Says at one point when talking about small business and how they create jobs, Obama turned to Leherer and said can we move on or can we change the subject? SO SORRY I MISSED THAT.
Can’t wait for Donald Trump to weigh-in on Obama’s comment that he is a small business.
Schedules after the debate:
Obama will do a rally in Denver tomorrow. Mitt Romney will be in Virginia over the next 23-36 hours.
Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly are live in the Fox Spin Room.
Michelle Obama and Ann Romney have just been introduced.
Audience supposedly evenly divided between Republicans, Democrats and University students.
R = Romney
O = Obama
Domestic Issues is the topic tonight [not foreign policy, not dead ambassadors]
3 segments: one on economy, role of health care, government and governing
Audience has promised to be silent with the exception of introduction applause.
Please forgive typos.
R and O are shaking hands.
The economy – Segment 1 Jobs
What are major differences between the two of you about how you will create jobs.?Two minutes. O goes first.
Most important point O wants to make is that 20 yrs ago Michelle agreed to marry him. He calls her sweetie.
O – 4 yr ago we went through financial collapse. Because of resiliance and the spirit of the American people we have seen 5 Million jobs created. The auto industry has come roaring back [but Osama bin Laden, Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith and Glen Doherty are dead, along with the Volt]. It’s about where we are going. Romney wants to cuts taxes. I think we have to invest in education and training. Invest in companies here in the US and use the money from wars winding down. Indicates that if we vote for O we embrace a new kind of “patriotism.”
R – I’ve had the occasions to meet people across the country. (People are asking for help). Romney says he can help but it will be a different plan than O’s. North American independence – 4 M jobs, crack down on China when they cheat, and training with best schools, and help small business. Small business is down to a 30 year law. I know how to create a healthy environment for small business. I’ll restore the vitality that gets America working again.
O – We have developed Race to the Top that has prompted raising standards. I want to create another 100,000 Math and Science teachers, low tuition. Corporation tax rate is too high (25%?). I want to provide tax rates for those companies here in the US. [The only way to get good math and science teachers is to pay them more, because they can work in the private sector and make a lot more money. Solving the problem of unions and tenure for teachers who do not perform is the solution]
Romney and I agree that we must develop energy here, but use wind and solar. We have to close our deficit. How do we close our deficit? Romney calls for $8B investments that we can’t fund [I missed part of that].
R – I don’t have a $5B tax cut as you say I do. I want to reduce taxes for the Middle Class. Under O’s policy – Americans have been buried $4,300 income has gone down. Gas prices have doubled, food prices are up. Health care has gone up $2500 per family. Developing energy will develop jobs. We have 47 Training programs housed in the goverment with huge cost. Give those programs back to the states.
All of the energy produced in your administration has happened on private land, not on government land. I’m not looking to cut massive taxes. No tax cut that adds to the deficit but reduce the burden being paid by Middle Americans.
O – Maybe with a tax cut you can buy a new car and business make more profits. R’s proposal calls for a $5T tax cut and he is saying he is going to pay for it by closing deductions and loopholes – hasn’t been able to identify those. If you add up all the loopholes you can take care of the needs of the deficit. You can only do it by burdening the Middle Class. Top down economics gets a $250,000 tax break. Not a recipe for growth.
R – Everything he said about my tax plan is wrong [Romney had to bull his way into the conversation because Leherer wanted to move on] I’ve got 5 boys and I’m used to people saying things and continuing to say them and people eventually believe it. I will not add to the Middle Class tax burden. I will lower it. Let’s get to the bottom line. I want to bring the rates down and exemptions and credits. Small business pay those rates and pay at the individual rate – pay more.
Leherer asks O is he believe R’s statement.
O says now R has changed it. “It’s math. It’s arithmetic.” At the same time my plan has lowered taxes for 98% of families, I also lowered Small Business taxes 18 times. I have said that for incomes over $250,000, we should go back to Bill Clinton’s plan. We can reduce the deficit and encourage job growth and invest in education and energy. 97% of small businesses will not see their taxes go up.
O says Donald Trump is “small business.” That kind of approach will not grow our economy. The worst is to make drastic cuts. We have to invest in basic science and reseearch.
Leherer continues to interrupt as Romney tries to answer back.
Those business in the last 3% employ 1/4 of all workers in Am and you plan to take their tax rate from 35% to 40%. R gives stats. Refers to Bowles Simpson and their plan that would have been successful for businesses.
O wants to talk and repeat his story. Leherer doesn’t try to stop him. Hasn’t interrupted him once. Interrupted Romney each time.
Good grief, O’ still talking. Repeating same things.
R – I get the last word. Leherer tries to stop him. I’m not in favor of a $5T tax cut. That’s not my plan – no matter what you say, that’s not my plan. I want to bring down rates so that revenue comes in from growing businesses. 23M people out of work or stopped, 47 M on food stamps – started at 23M on food stamps when O came into office.
Leherer: what to do about the federal debt. You have 2 minutes.
What are the differences between the two of you in tackling the deficit?
R – Critical and a “moral issue.” It is immoral to keep building debt at more than we take in. We can cut by raise taxes, cut spending and grow the economony. O prefers raising taxes. I oppose that because it slows the economy.
Is the program so critical that it is worth borrowing from China? If so I’ll quit it. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop ObamaCare. I will make government more efficient. Combine department. O has put almost as much public debt as all the presidents preceding him.
O – Yes we had to take some initial emergency measures because of what the Bush administration did. Kids weren’t learning. We went after medical fraud. $50B in waste cut out of the system. We have to do more. I put forward a $4T reduction plan. You can see it on the website. $2.50 for every cut, $1 paid for (sorry didn’t get this).
When R was in Republicans in debates, would you take $10 in spending cuts for just $1 in revenue. That’s an unbalanced approach. He will gut schools and medicaid.
Leherer asks if R likes Simpson Bowles.
R – I have my own plan but O should have taken it and made whatever changes he wanted. O breaks in an says he’s doing that. R says but you’ve been prez 4 years.
O is blinking and looking very irritated.
R – The revenue I get is from more people working and paying more taxes. That’s how we grow. We can never balance the budget by raising taxes.
O – If we are serious we have to take a balanced approach. Let’s talk abt corporate taxes. The oil industry get $4B a year in corporate welfare [doesn’t the govt get something like 18 cents of every gallon for doing nothing?]. Small bus don’t get that. Does Exxon Mobile need that when they get it every time you go to the pump. They shouldn’t get a special break. R says he will close loopholes. The way to do it is not give breaks to companies who are moving their business overseas. If we take a balance approach we can help young people go to college. Now he’s telling a student and teacher story. Using textbooks 10 yrs old. Budgets reflect choice [Dems haven’t had a budget in almost 4 years] Now we’re talking about Autistic kids and Medicaid.
R – Dept of Energy said the break for oil is $2.8B a year. You provided in one year $90B in breaks to solar and wind. That’s about 50 years worth of breaks. You pick the losers. Solyndra, Fiskar (mentions others). The idea that you get a break for shipping business overseas is incorrect. Medicaid – give the states what they got last year plus 1%. States want to do that. The federals govt need not tell us how to care for our poor. States are the laboratory for the poor. The right approach relies on the brilliance of the people, not the fed govt.
Leherer: Entitlements – what’s the difference between the two of you?
O – SS we have abt the same stance. The basic structure is sound. Basic value behind SS and Medicare. Here’s his grandmother story. We’ve heard it before. I’ll take a rest here. Millions are counting on it. How do we strengthen it? We said we will bring down the cost of it by no longer overpaying insurance companys and providers. We lowered drug costs. Made a significant improvement to benefits. [what an appalling liar]
R – Seniors depend on these programs. I am not proposing any changes for any current or near retiress. If you are around 60, you needn’t listen. O is proposing $716B in cuts for Medicare immediately. 15% to hosp and nursing homes are not taking more M-care patients. 4M will lose Medicare Advantage. I will make no changes for anyone close to or at retirement. I want to take the $716B you took from M-care, I want to put back in. You are trying to balance Obamacare with the stolen $716B.
O – R will turn Medicare into a voucher program. R says that’s for future. If you are 54 or 55 listen. We will give a voucher to seniors and they can go out in the private marketplace, but the voucher will not keep up with the marketplace. R says he will keep traditional M-care along with vouchers. Economists say over time traditional M-care will collapse. I don’t think vouchers are the right way to go. AARP agrees with me [ARRP = nazis] If you repeal ObamaCare, and “I have become fond of the word” ObamaCare, the beneficiary is insurance companies.
R – I support no change to current or near, and the prez supports taking $716B from Medicare. My voucher plan for younger people currently WILL NOT COST $6,000 as O says. We have to have the benefits high for lower income, and lower for higher income. That idea came from Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. We will create competition between ins companies.
O – Private ins companies have to make a profit. You are putting seniors at the mercy of those companies. He quotes AARP [who is making billions for endorsing ObamaCare] [Have I mentioned that I hate AARP?]
Leherer What is your view of federal regulations?
R – Regs are essential. You can’t have free mkt without them. You have to have regs. Every free economy has good regs. Today we have some excessive regs – passed during the prez’ term. Dodd Frank has unintended consequences. The biggest kiss given to big banks I’ve ever seen. I would repeal and replace Dodd Frank. Some parts make sense.
O – Dodd Frank – this is a great example. The reason we have been in such an enormous crisis is across the board. Irresponsible loans, people borrowing who can’t afford [doesn’t mention the Community Reinvestment Act that Dems forced on lenders – that is the single cause of the housing crisis. Bush went to Congress 17 times to beg them to do something about the CRA and Democrats refused] We stepped in and had the toughest reforms since the 1930’s. Banks, you have to raise your safety bar. We made sure that all the help we gave those banks was paid back in full. R says he want to repeal Dodd Frank. The question is, does anyone out there think the problem we had is too much regulation on Wall Street?
R – We have to have regulation on WS but I wouldn’t designate 5 banks too big to fail. It’s killing small banks. The great financial calamity – we gave mortgages to those not qualified. Dodd Frank didn’t define what a qualified mortgage is [that’s because they want every minority to own a house whether they can afford it or not]
Leherer – You want to repeal ObamaCare. Why
R – He talks about people he’s met who can’t afford ins. Small bs say they will drop health care. CBO says $2,500 a yr more than traditional ins. It cuts $716B from Medicare to pay for it. It puts in place an unelected board that will tell people what kind of treatments they can have. 3/4 of companies say they are less likely to hire with ObamaCare looming. It has killed healthcare. Craft plans at state level and focus on getting the price down.
O – Tells stories abt people. Wasn’t just that sm bs was seeing costs skyrocket. It was families who were worried abt going bankrupt. They had a pre-existing condition and couldn’t get covered. They hit the limit and have no insurance. If you have health ins you keep your own doctor [but not once your ins changes it’s plan – then you go to gov’t single payer]. We are setting up a group plan – 18% lower than reg market. The irony is we’ve seen this model work really well in Massachusetts because Romney did a good thing working with Dems in the state. It hasn’t destroyed jobs.
R – First, I like the way we did it in Mass. We had Repubs and Dems come together. You put thru a plan without a single Republican vote. You pushed thru something you Harry Reid and Pelosi 87% worked together. Only 2 voted against it. We did raise you taxes, you did. We didn’t cut M-care. We didn’t put in place a board [death panels] We didn’t put people in a position where people will lose their insurance. 30% of businesses say they will drop their insurance. Something this big and this important has to be done with both parties.
O – This was a bipartisan plan, a Republican plan. [BUT NO A SINGLE REPUB VOTED FOR IT AND DEMS MADE BACKROOM DEALS – REMEMBER THE CORNHUSKER KICKBACK AND NO ABORTIONS THROUGH A SIGNING ORDER?] Ya da Ya da. Cleveland Clinic says let’s do one test instead of 10 tests. Let’s pay doctors on performance, rather than how many procedures they have done [hospitals will not readmit you within 30 days – think about that if you are a heart patient]. R says we should replace ObamaCare but he hasn’t said what he would replace it with. Buying insurance across state lines won’t help people find insurance or save money.
R – Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan. Children are covered under my plan – can stay on their parents plan, as OCare proscribes. The govt is not effective of bringing down the cost of anything. Free enterprise is better than any govt can ever be. The Cleveland Clinic is a private enterprise. You story makes my point. Cleveland Clinic is not federal. Private market always works best.
O – my board can’t make decisions. Your plan does not cover pre-existing conditions. He talks abt Cobra. That doesn’t help the millions of people with pre-existing conditions. When R says he’ll replace it with something but can’t detail the something, it reminds me that he will close deductions and taxplans but we don’t know the details. – O is off on other subjects trying to run out the clock. Leherer does nothing.
R – I’m going to work with Congress to find the right deduction, or we can take Bowles Simpson. Bring down the base. Simplify the code. I do have a plan for pre-existing conditions. The fed govt whisking aside the 10the Amendment is not the way to do this.
O – How do you view the mission of the federal govt
The first role of the feds is to keep the county safe and I think abt that every day I’m in office The fed govt has the opportunity to provide ladders of opportunities, but as Abe Lincoln understood let’s help finance the railroads, etc – the gateways for all Americans. That doesn’t restrict people’s freedoms, it enhances it. To the states, we’ll give you more money if you make reforms. Let’s hire another 100,000 math and science teachers [first you have to pay those teachers more, and get rid of the teachers that don’t teach]
R – the key to great schools is great teachers. Those decisions are for the states. Mass has the No. 1 schools in the Nations. Protect the constitution. A military second to none. I believe in mantaining defense. Maintain commitment to religious tolerance, and the right to pursue happiness. I believe that means we take care of the unfortunate. The govt can’t do it. 47M on food stamps. 50% of college grads can’t find work. The path we are taking is not working.
Leherer: does the fed govt have the job of improving education
R – I believe in some of Arne Duncan’s ideas, but not all of them. I want the kids getting fed dollars to go to the school of their choice. I want fed funds go with the child and let the parent choose the school.
O – The govt has a significant role to play. We have initiated major reforms. Budgets matter because budgets reflect choices [Dems have no budget]. R wants to cut. Ryan put forward a budget. It wasn’t detailed, but if you extrapolate, you cut the education budget up to 20%. At Community colleges we see great things happening. Designing programs so that jobs are waiting for them. That requires federal support. We were sending $60B to banks and lenders as middlemen. They were taking billions out of the system. We have been able to make interest rates low. Our priorities make a difference. When R tells a student you should borrow from your parents, the focus like me don’t have that option. I will make that opportunity for them.
R – You are not entitled to your own facts. I’m not cutting funding to education. I will put the diff in other places. You put $90B into green jobs. Would have hire thousands of teachers. The role of govt is not to pick winners and loser in health care or schools. Govt asks how to make private sector more successful. How to give power to parents to make their children’s education more successful. My record in Mass shows how I think of education.
Leherer – Many legislative functions in fed govt are in paralysis because of partisan gridlock. What would you do.
R – I was elected in a state with 87% of legislators in the opposing party. On day one I will sit down with the other side. In Mass we met every Monday. I will make it work. Look at the Middle East. We need leadership in Washington to get the job done. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.
O – R will have a busy day because he is also going to repeal ObamaCare and that won’t make Democrats want to sit down with him. I have worked with both sides. [liar liar pants on fire] We’ve seen progress even under a Rep controlled congress [that’s because the Dem led Senate won’t vote on bills Dems don’t want]. R hasn’t shown he will say no to his own party. [O has said no to everything R]
O – 4 yrs ago we were going thru a major crisis, yet my faith in the america people is undiminished. Tells a story of a woman, and then another story, an then an autoworker story [remember he paid them big through their unions]. How do we build on that – developing energy, closing loopholes on companies working overseas. All those things are designed to make sure their genius and grit is channeled and they have an opportunity to succeed. Everybody gets a fair shot, a fair share. I promised I would fight everyday for the middle class. I will fight just as hard in a second term.
R – I am concerned abt america and the direction we are taking. It is bigger than either of us or either party. It is abt the course our country will take. Our paths lead in very different directions. Look at the record. With O we will have Middle Class squeeze. I will help create 12M new jobs. Health insurance will change forever in the wrong way. We will allow each state to create their own programs. You will see $716B cut from M-care. I will restore that to M-Care. If I am elected, I will not cut our commitment to Military.
9:33 pm It’s Over. Thanks to Drudge for the photos.