ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
Obama: Said government has an important role in addressing the nation's challenges in education, health care and job creation but also stressed a balance between government intervention and American innovation. Talked about the auto bailout as an example of how government policies could protect and boost the American economy. Said Americans understand the country is not about what can be done for them, but by what can be done collectively to help all citizens. Cited examples of government policies helping individuals, including a young girl who now has health insurance with no limits on her coverage.
Romney: Emphasized the role of the private sector in creating jobs and spurring economic growth. Said the greatness of the U.S. was built on the free-enterprise system and that was the best way to create prosperity. Said government regulations must be simplified and reduced and that government programs, particularly Obama's health care overhaul, were hurting small businesses and slowing economic growth. Emphasized what he said was Obama's over reliance on government, that for Obama, government is jobs. Contrasted that with his view that the private sector was the best engine for America's success.
Obama: Said he would never let Medicare be turned into a program in which seniors get a voucher that they in turn use to help buy private health insurance. Said he would reform Medicare but do it by reducing the cost of health care.
Romney: Focused on criticizing Obama's health care overhaul, which takes nearly $700 billion out of the program over the coming decade by lowering payments to certain providers, mainly private insurers and hospitals. Has promised to overhaul those payment cuts.
Obama: Hammered Romney as lacking foreign policy experience. Said Romney's comment about Russia being the country's "No. 1 geopolitical foe" indicated that he's "stuck in a Cold War time warp." Said the uproar Romney caused when he questioned London's security for the 2012 Olympics shows he might not be ready for diplomacy with China. Criticized Romney for not saying how he'll end the war in Afghanistan. Said al-Qaida is being defeated and noted that Osama bin Laden is dead. Criticized Romney as wanting to spend money on military hardware that senior Pentagon officials do not want. Said the U.S. commitment to Israel's security must remain strong and that the world must stay united against Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Romney: Credited Obama with giving SEAL Team Six the order to take out bin Laden, but said America is less secure today because the president has failed to slow Iran's nuclear threat. Said Obama has abandoned key allies Israel and Poland and relaxed sanctions on Cuba. Said the president has been too easy on Russian President Vladimir Putin, promised to deal more sternly with Putin. Said Obama wants to make major cuts in military spending that will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs and put U.S. security at greater risk. Pledged to "preserve a military that is so strong, no nation would ever dare to test it."
Associated Press writers Richard Lardner, Jim Abrams and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.
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