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President debate, by the dollars

By Janna Herron ·
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Posted: 9 am ET

"It's arithmetic," President Barack Obama said Wednesday night in response to Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney in the first of three presidential debates this month.

Maybe the president didn't provide a complete mathematical equation in the back-and-forth, but the candidates weren't lacking in numbers. Both cited figures left and right, many of which affect your pocketbook, in an attempt to woo voters.

Americans will vote for the pocketbooks this November, a survey by Bankrate found in June. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans reported their personal finances will be either the "single most important factor" or "one of several important factors" in their choice of who to vote for.

Let's break down some of the numbers that may affect you.

First up, jobs. Unable to shy away from the sluggish economy, Obama opened with how 5 million private-sector jobs have been created under his administration, including those saved by the auto industry bailout. Later, Romney hammered back, saying 23 million people are out of work or looking for work under the president's watch, and middle-class incomes have fallen by $4,300. The GOP hopeful also estimated that nearly 4 million jobs would be created under his plan to make the country energy-independent. Oddly absent? The 8.1 percent unemployment rate that Obama has yet to tame.

Next? Taxes, the biggest bugaboo of the evening. Obama said Romney's tax cut plan would cost $5 trillion. But Romney vehemently denied it.

"I'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. That's not my plan," Romney said. "My plan is not to put in place any tax cut that will add to the deficit."

Romney supports extending the Bush-era tax cuts for higher-income Americans, along with repealing the alternative minimum tax and estate tax, which would cost $4.8 trillion over 10 years, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Of course, the tax cuts on higher-income Americans are the same that the president extended during his term. However, Obama wants to roll back these tax cuts for more affluent citizens as part of his plan to bring down the national deficit. Obama says for every $2.50 he cuts in government spending, he's looking for $1 in extra revenue from Americans who make more than $250,000 a year. He reiterated that his tax plan doesn't raise taxes on middle-class Americans, and that, in fact, he has already cut taxes by $3,600 for the typical middle-class family. Obama countered that Romney would have to get rid of tax deductions and credits that help the middle class under his deficit reduction plan. That means, "the average middle-class family with children would pay about $2,000 more," said Obama.

Last up: health care. Romney went after the president for cutting $716 billion from Medicare, noting that current seniors who rely on the program get "$1 for every $15 (Obama cuts) from Medicare." Romney then attacked Obama's health care reform, referred to as "Obamacare" by Republicans ("I like it," Obama said about the act's nickname). Romney said the president's health care plan raised premiums by $2,500 on average.

Obama came back and said that insurance premiums increased at the slowest rate in the last 50 years under his plan. He also said uninsured Americans were offered a group plan with premiums that were 18 percent lower than what they could get on their own.

To conclude, Romney wore a red tie with a bigger American flag pin than the president's. Obama sported a blue tie and wished his wife Michelle a happy anniversary.

Bankrate's experts are busy parsing through the transcript to pin down the details. In the meantime, who do you think won this round?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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Bert M
October 06, 2012 at 11:24 pm

A little fact for all you Obama Lovers. It was Bush that signed the check in December 2008 that bailed out GM and not Obama. Obama just can't stop lying.

October 06, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Both suck forget these two parties and vote neither let them both contiplate for the next four years why neither are in office take our country back vote independent it cant make it worse

Bob Arnold
October 06, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Think about it! Obama is a great example of Chicago Politics, Rotten to the core. We no nothing of his background. He came from no where. He has done nothing but push socialism. How can anyone with any degree of intelligence vote for him. Our country needs a change.


Ron D
October 06, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Romney can't even tell the truth about his own first name. Willard
sure can't be trusted to tell the truth about something important.

October 06, 2012 at 8:33 pm

"Bernie" is apparently 1 of those liberals who neither uderstands nor wants to learn about business operations.
We handed something like $80 BILLION to the auto companies, & GM still owes us something like 32 billion.
We could have built dozens of brand new auto companies from scratch - instead we used tax dollars with 1 purpose in Obama's mind - to keep the union in charge since they guarantee votes to the Dems.
Bankruptcy does NOT mean the company woud have disappeared, although I can't expect a lib to understand that - it means the debt would have been retsructured & guess what ?? We as taxpayers would NOT have given our money to those firms.
As for Obama's lie about the 5 trillion in tax cuts, well personnally I wish it were true, but it's not. Fact has a nice report about the lie Obama told on this.
But libs will vote for Obama regardless of the fact that he's a liar, & the worst President we've ever had in our lifetimes.
I thought Jimmy Carter was the biggest loser ever, but Obama now holds that title.
We need to bring back either Reagan or Clinton.

Bernie Plair
October 06, 2012 at 7:24 pm

You're right Chuck, on all counts. Mr. Robme, I mean Mr. Romney's counter to the President's 5 million private-sector jobs created on his watch was a statement about 23 million people being out of work. If that is true, how many more would be out of work as a result of an action he would have made if he had been president? Let the auto industry go bankrupt.

He (Robme) also claims that he would not only create nearly 4 million jobs (in what country was not specified), but would make the country "energy-independent". Maybe he too can see Russia from Sarah Palin's house if he thinks there is enough oil under U.S soil to supply all of the needs of the most oil consuming nation on the planet.

The President was again telling the truth when he spoke of Romney's 5 trillion in tax cuts, which together with adding an unrequested 2 trillion to the Defense budget,adds 7 Trillion to the deficit. Of course Romney denies it, saying that is not his plan. "My plan is not to put in place any tax cut that will add to the deficit." Duh...the plan should be a way to REDUCE the deficit. Since his "plan" is so secret, perhaps it's really 6 trillion in tax cuts. The fact that he wants to extend the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy certainly is no surprise. Neither is repealing the alternative minimum tax and estate tax. With Romney, the real danger is not in what he says. It is in what he does NOT say. Like any real details in what his "plans" are-- from jobs to tax breaks to health care, Medicare and Social Security. People need to remember that Romney and 99.9% of elected Republicans in the House and Senate, along with all that hope to be, have signed a Pledge of Allegiance to ONE man: Grover Norquist. This pledge disregards any Oath of Office and almost all of the American People, not just the 47% that Romney considers worthless. Of course he would love to receive as many votes as he can get from those 47%. Are you one of them?

Leo May
October 06, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Are you kidding me? Are you really saying that Obama doesn't lie? That's all
he's done since he first ran for office!!! It's documented everywhere. Bigotry?
Who's been playing the race card? Who started the rumor of the republican
'war on women'? How about pushing Granny over the cliff? That's all his
campaign has done is spread lies and innuendo. He has no record to run on so he
resorts to character assassination. No lies? Put down the kool-aid and think!

October 06, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Ronald Regan was an actor who wanted to become a President. However, Obama is a president who wants to become an actor. If Obama wanted to fill the chair of president, he would stay in the White House and stop flying around the country visiting Town Hall Meetings which he has been doing for the past 4 years.

Ronald G
October 06, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I think most people saw this as a Romney win. Mr. Romney IS a friend to the middle class. If Obama gets reelected and the Senate is retained we are where we were before. Even if we took every penny from the rich and spread it around, the plight of the middle class would not improve. The biggest reason is that trikle down government often creates more problems than it solves. Romney was pretty clear if you listened to him. All we need to do is get past people who count jobs saved as ones created. We also need to look at what our conditions really are and not some number that logically is incorrect. Do you know someone that has less income? Do you know someone that has taken a part time job when they wanted a full time job? The rich are doing fine. The middle class has been buried? Should we count how many jobs would have been created by lost jobs due to poor policy. If we did, we'd be in a depression. The real Romney was there at the debate. So was the real Obama. Without a teleprompter he wasn't showing much awareness of the issues. Do we want a President who needs a teleprompter to govern?Do we want change? If so, we must do so and not expect government to do that! If we want change let's make it! Let's not go with someone who is all style and no substance. I'm not interested in a defense afterward of a poor performance. We are better then that!

Chuck Williams
October 04, 2012 at 10:22 am

Mr Rommny is not a friend to middle America.He says what he thinks people want to hear for the moment .

Pres.Obama tells the truth whether or not it's the best news about all issues .

I think that unless the Democrats gain back the house there won't
be much change right away.
Lieing and bigotry won't help solve our problems .