Romney Obama Debate: Candidates Spar Over Taxes, Jobs

The Romney Obama debate on Wednesday night took a sharp focus on taxes and job creation, with Obama painting Romney’s $5 trillion tax cut plan as a break aimed at the wealthy that would make the middle class suffer.

Obama put Romney on his toes during the debate, forcing the GOP candidate to reject the repeated charge that the tax break would burden the middle class, Fox News noted. He claimed that for Romney’s plan to work, he would need to either add to the deficit or raise taxes on the middle class.

Romney rejected the president’s assertions about the tax cut, saying it is not as sweeping as the president claimed it to be.

“I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut,” Romney said, pledging that his plan would be deficit-neutral and not hurt the middle class.

“There’ll be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that — no tax cut that adds to the deficit,” Romney said, adding: “I will not under any circumstance raise taxes on middle-income families.”

The Romney Obama debate also focused heavily on job growth. Obama said the focus should not be where America has been, but where it is headed. “We’ve begun to fight our way back,” Obama said.

Romney countered with his five-point economic plan, focusing on investing in small business and saying that Obama has left many small business owners unsure of what the economy will hold.

The Romney Obama debate comes at a time when the US economy has sputtered in its recovery from the recession and job growth has come more slowly than economists anticipated. Romney used the conditions to argue that Obama has not earned a second term, while Obama focused on the case that he is still cleaning up the mess from the Bush administration and needs another four years to finish the work.

While most saw the GOP challenger as the clear winner of the first debate, he still has much room to make up. Romney has slipped in polls from important battleground states of Ohio and Florida, with Obama opening larger leads in these states. The gap has been closed some in recent days, however.

Though the challenger may have emerged the winner of the first Romney Obama debate, there was no game-changing moment, NBCNews.com noted.

The next Romney-Obama debate will be held October 16, and the final debate will take place October 22. The only vice presidential debate will be held October 11.