We’re a few minutes away from showtime… Watch this space.
9:02 – Candidates walk out…
9:03 – First question from a first-time voter, a college student. Asks how he can support himself and get a job after school. Romney gets the first question after winning a coin toss earlier today.
Romney: When do you graduate? (2014) Presuming I’m president in 2014, I’m going to make sure you get a job.
9:05 – Obama response: The future is bright. I want to build manufacturing jobs in this country. Romney said let Detroit go bankrupt. Obama hits Romney on auto bailout within first minute of his response.
9:08 – Followup question by Candy Crowley: What about people unemployed six months or more, long-term unemployed who need a job right now?
Romney – We have fewer people working today than when the president took office. If you calculate people who stopped looking for work, unemployment rate would be 10.7 percent.
Romney plugs his 12 million jobs in 4 years proposal.
Romney to Obama: “You took Detroit bankrupt.”
Obama rebutall: “Candy, what Governor Romney said just isn’t true.”
Obama: Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan, he has a one-point plan.
9:11 – Second question: Energy Secretary on record saying it’s not the policy of Energy Department to lower gas prices. Do you agree?
Obama – we’ve increased oil production to highest in 16 years, increases in coal production. Can’t just produce traditional sources of energy, need to look to the future.
Basically, Romney’s plan is to let the oil companies write the energy policy.
9:14 – Romney rebuttal: production on federal lands down.
What was the cost? 2–25 birds killed, brought out the Migratory Bird Act.
Romney hits Obama on Keystone XL pipeline.
Candy Crowley followup: Are we looking at the new normal here?
Obama – Gas demand on the rise, but so is gas production.
What he said was not true.
Obama and Romney going at it, Obama repeatedly saying what he says is not true, Romney repeatedly pressing him to answer the question.
Looks like rules set by both campaigns in the Memorandum of Understanding went out the window.
Obama points out Grassley favors wind tax credit that Romney opposes… Specifically targeting Iowa voters
9:24 – Third question: asking about tax deductions important to the middle class.
Romney mentions middle class buried last 4 years, a reference to Biden gaffe which went unmentioned during VP debate.
Obama rebuttal: I’ve cut taxes for middle class families and small businesses. Want to continue those tax cuts for middle class families and small businesses. If we’re serious about deficit reduction, in addition to spending cuts, wealthy have to do a bit more.
Obama hits Romney for 60 Minutes interview quote about it being fair he pays lower tax rate
Romney rebuttal: trying to push back on Obama by tying unemployment rate to low taxes.
Again pushes 5-point economic plan.
9:32 Crowley follow-up question: Romney says tax cut not going to top 5 percent… Settled?
Obama: No, it’s not settled! What he wants to do costs about $5 trillion, defense spending another $2 trillion, continue the Bush tax cuts, that’s $8 trillion. How are you going to do it? He can’t tell you.
Obama has the soundbite of the night so far – “sketchy deal”
Romney rebuttal: Cites his business record, Olympics experience.
Question: How do you rectify inequalities in workplace, women who make less than men?
9:37 – Obama: Mentions his upbringing by single mom and his grandmother.
Mentions his signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Act.
Romney rebuttal: When I was governor, all applicants were men.
My government had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state.
Obama: Hits Romney campaign for not having a position on whether they supported Lilly Ledbetter Act.
Also mentions contraception coverage in health care and Planned Parenthood funding.
Question: Disappointed with lack of progress in last 4 years. Attribute problems in economics and abroad to missteps of President Bush. Fear return to policies of those years. What is difference between you and George W. Bush?
9:45 – Romney: President Bush and I different people, different times. My 5-point plan different than what he would have done.
Trade – I’ll crack down on China, President Bush didn’t.
Romney on Obama: “His forecast for the next four years is more deficits”
Obama rebuttal: We have been digging our way out of policies misplaced and focused for the top doing very well. 31 consecutive months of job growth.
When Romney says he has diff econ plan, the centerpiece of his economic plan is tax cuts.
Obama: “Governor, you’re the last person who’s going to get tough on China.”
Question: Mr. President, I voted for you in 2008. Why should I vote for you again?
9:52 Obama recites list of pledges he’s accomplished…
Commitments I’ve made I’ve kept. Those I haven’t not for lack of trying, and will do in a second term.
Romney rebuttal: “I think you know better.”
Per CNN timekeeping, President Obama has spoken about 5 minutes more than Governor Romney.
Question: What do you plan on doing about immigrants without green cards who are productive members of society?
Questioner has a Freudian slip, addresses “President Romney.”
Romney: We are a nation of immigrants. Notes that his father was born in Mexico.
I will not grant amnesty.
Military service a pathway to becoming permanent resident.
Notes that President Obama promised to reform immigration in his first term, hadn’t done it.
10:01 Obama rebuttal: Need to fix broken immigration system.
Go after gangbangers, not students
Notes Romney would have vetoed the DREAM Act, hits him on self-deportation.
Romney rebuttal: E-verify portion of the Arizona law a model for the nation.
I asked a question – why when you said you would get legislation in first year and you didn’t do it?
Self-deportation: I said we’re not going to round up 12 million illegals, let them make their own choice.
Obama and Romney getting testy again: Obama – I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours… (audience laughs)
Obama hits Romney for having Kris Kobach, author of Arizona immigration law, as his immigration adviser.
Question: State Department refused extra security for Benghazi. Who denied it and why?
10:09 – Obama: These people are my representatives. No one more concerned about their safety and security than I am.
Hits Romney for trying to politicize Libya attack.
“When it comes to national security, I mean what I say.”
Romney rebuttal: Hits Obama for going to Vegas fundraiser after Benghazi victims memorial service.
Pivots to Israel and Syria, hits Obama for “apology tour.”
Crowley follow up: Does the buck stop with Hillary Clinton?
Obama: Hillary works for me. I am responsible.
Question: What are you planning to do to limit availability of assault weapons?
10:17 – Obama: Nation believes in Second Amendment. Instances where I had to comfort families who lost somebody, recently in Aurora.
Romney rebuttal: We don’t want to have automatic weapons, already illegal in this country.
Hits Obama on Fast and Furious gun-running program
Crowley followup: Why did you change your mind?
10:23 Romney: In my state, both sides came together. Mutually agreed piece of legislation. What we need more of. We haven’t had leadership in Washington on bipartisan basis.
Obama rebuttal: “I think Governor Romney was for an assault weapons ban before he was against it.”
Question: Outsourcing of jobs overseas taken toll on our economy… What plans do you have to keep jobs here in the United States?
10:26 – Romney: Lot of jobs going to China. 500k manufacturing jobs lost in last 4 years.
Made it less attractive for enterprises to come here than to go offshore.
Trickle-down government has never worked here or anywhere else.
I will label China a currency manipulator.
Obama rebuttal: I want to close loopholes… All those changes in our tax code would make a difference.
Crowley follow up: How do you convince companies to bring labor back here?
Romney: Have to make America most attractive place for entrepreneurs. That’s what bring jobs.
Obama: Some jobs not going to come back – low wage, low skill. I want high wage, high skill jobs.
Last question: What do you believe is the biggest misperception the American people have about you as a man and candidate? Opportunity to debunk and set us straight?
10:35 Romney: I care about 100 percent of the American people. I care about our kids.
Romney preempts Obama on 47 percent comments.
Obama rebuttal: I believe free enterprise system is greatest engine of prosperity.
Everybody should have fair shot, do their fair share, play by same rules.
Hits Romney on 47 percent comments
Obama saves 47 percent for his closing comment, when Romney can’t rebut it. Good strategic move.