Left and Right Live Blogging the Obama-Romney Debates

The U.S. News's live opinion blog

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Peter Roff 9:40: Governor Romney scores a direct hit on President Obama on energy, directly refuting the charge about tax breaks for the oil companies by explaining they go to small companies while the president has sent almost half a century's worth of the same amount of money in credits and tax breaks to green energy over the course of his administration.

Robert Schlesinger 9:40: Interesting—nearly 40 minutes in and no mention of "Ryan budget" yet. [See a collection of political cartoons on Paul Ryan.]

Robert Schlesinger 9:35: Question for Governor Romney: Which tax increases did more damage to the economy, Reagan's in 1982 or Clinton's in 1993?

Peter Roff 9:33: Earlier, President Obama urged us to look at history. As far as the whole business of addressing deficit spending is concerned, the history of these grand deals to increase some taxes by a little bit in exchange for larger spending cuts always ends up the same way: the taxes go up, revenue declines because the higher rates have an adverse effect on economic growth, and the spending cuts never materialize.

Peter Roff 9:31: What neither candidate seems to be willing to say about the deficit is that it, in and of itself, is not the issue. The problem is that spending has exploded when compared to revenues. Mild spending restraint, cuts in the rate of growth of spending, can get the budget back near balance very quickly as long as we are still able to borrow from the Social Security Trust Fund. What President Obama seems to forget is that the economy was doing rather well until the crash—which was caused by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage program backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and it's impact on the big investment firms on Wall Street. It was not caused by the Bush/Obama tax cuts or by the costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Robert Schlesinger 9:32: Umm, Governor Romney, repealing Obamacare adds to the deficit and shortens the life of Medicare. Just sayin’.

Peter Roff 9:28: Actually, the Romney plan to reduce rates while reducing the value of deductions and tax credits is the same successful strategy pursued by Ronald Reagan in the 1986 Tax Reform Act that helped create 20 million new jobs by the end of the decade. Peter Roff 9:29: Romney is delivering a strong defense of his tax plan and has called the president on several obvious errors in his analysis. President Obama has misstated the effect of his policies and his explanation of what is going on in the economy comes straight out of "Fantasyland."

Mary Kate Cary 9:24: Romney is coming across as specific and credible. I'm watching CNN's response meters with undecided voters. Mitt's killing Obama among undecideds. Obama is coming across as a little annoyed, can tell he really doesn't want to be there.

Robert Schlesinger 9:24: First "zinger" of the night from Obama, about Donald Trump being a small business. The problem with the rule of absolute silence in the auditorium is that it’s going to be hard for even funny comments to not sound flat.

[ See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.] Boris Epshteyn 9:23: President Obama continuously is attacking Romney, not talking about his own achievements. Good point by Romney on energy production on private land. Great zinger by Governor Romney about his sons and continuing to say an untruth.

Robert Schlesinger 9:22: Romney abandons the GOP position on taxes—rhetorically anyway. He says he doesn’t want to cut taxes for the wealthy, which drops 30 years of GOP dogma. It’s also not what’s in his plan.

Robert Schlesinger 9:17: Romney says he doesn’t have a tax cut. He means net—he is advocating a cut in the tax rate. But even so, this flies in the face of all independent studies which say that his 20 percent tax cut adds up $5 trillion (in addition to extending the Bush tax cuts) and that there are not enough tax breaks available to offset the cost of the his tax cuts.

Boris Epshteyn 9:12: Former Gov. Mitt Romney looks more presidential, President Barack Obama comes out with the soft moment, but Romney gets the bigger laugh. Most importantly Romney cites specific points and actually answers the question of how he will create jobs.