Obama camp says Romney did well

2012-10-04 17:52
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and US President Barack Obama greet one another at Magness Arena moments before the start of their first debate at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. (Michael Reynolds, AFP)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and US President Barack Obama greet one another at Magness Arena moments before the start of their first debate at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. (Michael Reynolds, AFP)

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Washington - US President Barack Obama's chief political adviser conceded on Thursday that challenger Mitt Romney did well in the first debate between the two candidates for the White House.

Romney, the nominee of the conservative Republican Party, was widely hailed as the winner in their debate on domestic policy late on Wednesday in Denver, Colorado.

"He did give a strong performance, but that's what it was - a performance," Axelrod said in a live interview on the Today Show on NBC.

Axelrod, a Chicago political consultant who was the chief architect of the 2008 campaign that made Obama the first African-American president, argued that his boss still made effective arguments in the 90-minute debate.

'People want truth'

"The American people want the honest truth about where we need to go as a country, how we rebuild this economy, how we rebuild the middle class, and that's what the president did," Axelrod said. "I think people respect that."

Axelrod accused Romney of failing to offer details on a host of important policies: where he would eliminate tax deductions to offset across-the-board cuts in income tax rates; how he would replace Obama's landmark health care reform; and how he would change post-crisis reforms to the financial sector.

Obama "treated the American people like adults", Axelrod said, "and he told the truth, which was a fundamental distinction between him and Governor Romney".

The average of major recent surveys before the debate had Obama leading with 49% support to 46% for Romney, according to the website Real Clear Politics.

In the last month, Obama had opened a decisive advantage in most of the so-called swing states, considered to be play between the two major-party candidates.

The election is on 6 November.

Campaign shift

Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said that the debate created "a dynamic shift in the campaign."

"Governor Romney was clearly very much in command of the facts last night and had solutions," Gillespie told cable news channel MSNBC.

"But I think the big thing was he laid out a very clear choice, and a big choice, and that's what this election is about. And it was the substance of the debate that I think mattered most, the competing view of what is best for getting our country going again."

Romney and Obama are scheduled to debate again on 16 and 22 October. Vice President Joe Biden and Romney's running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, are to debate on 11 October.

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