Updated 10/04/2012 08:00 AM
First presidential debate in the books
President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney go head-to-head in their first of three presidential debates. The struggling economy was a major part of the conversation. Our Josh Robin breaks down what was discussed.
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UNITED STATES -- In their much-anticipated first debate, President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney squared off over the economy and other domestic issues.
It was a factoid-heavy 90 minutes that may have elevated Romney. The Republican came well-armed with bleak statistics of a struggling nation, Obama wielding the defense Americans are better off now.
"47 million on food stamps today, economic growth slower this year than last year, and last year's slower than the year before,” said Romney.
"When I walked in to the Oval Office, I had more than a trillion dollar deficit greeting me. And we know where it came from,” said President Obama.
While no knockouts, the instant analysis is Romney exceeded expectations while the President did not always engage his foe. Romney pressed the President while staying cordial, wishing the first couple a happy anniversary for instance.
Observers note the President was more law professor than prosecutor. He never mentioned the infamous video in which Romney disparages 47 percent of the population. Nor did Obama strongly seize on the fact that his signature health care law is rooted in a law Romney signed as Massachusetts Governor.
"I just don't know how the President could have come into office facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the kitchen table and spend his energy and passion fighting for ObamaCare," said Romney.
Romney may have alienated a key bloc of Big Bird fans. He said he'd slash Sesame Street's subsidy, but he did apologize to the feathered friend.
The men will debate again October 16th in a town hall meeting, followed by a third and final debate on October 22nd. But coming up next, the vice-presidential candidates square off. That's next week, on October 11th.