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Jim Lehrer Loses Control During Presidential Debate In Denver

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Hard going for the debate moderation veteran tonight.

LEHRER: Do you support the voucher system, governor?

Romney responds by saying he supports "no change for current retirees ... and the president supports taking $716 million out of that program." This is basic stuff that Lehrer should have been prepared to control. Instead, he loses the thread, begging the candidates, "Can we stay on Medicare? Can we finish?" and "Let's get back to Medicare."

LEHRER: Can the two of you agree have a choice, a clear choice on the two of you on Medicare?

ROMNEY: Absolutely.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

It goes on. Lehrer attempts to corral an answer on Dodd-Frank. No avail. Lehrer attempts to have a controlled discussion on health care reform:

LEHRER: Mr. President, the argument against repeal?

OBAMA: Four years ago, I was traveling around having the same conversations Governor Romney is talking about, and it wasn't just that small businesses were seeing costs skyrocket and they couldn't get affordable coverage even if they wanted to provide it to employees. It wasn't because this was the biggest driver of the federal deficit, but it was families, who were worried about going bankrupt if they got sick. Millions of families, all across the country. preexisting condition. might not we able to get coverage at all if they did have coverage, insurance companies might impose an arbitrary limit. So as a consequence, paying premiums, somebody gets really sick, lo and behold, they don't have enough money to pay the bills because the insurance companies say they've hit the limit. So we did work on this, alongside working on jobs, because this is part of making sure that middle class families are secure in this country. And let me tell you exactly what obama care did. Number one, if you got health insurance, it doesn't mean a government takeover. you keep your own insurance. You keep your own doctor. But it says insurance companies can't jerk you around and can't impose arbitrary lifetime limits. They have to keep your kid on insurance until they are 26 years old. And it says you will get rebates if insurance companies are spending more on administrative costs and profits than actual care. Number two, if you don't have health insurance, we're essentially setting up a group plan that allows you to benefit from group rates typically 18% lower than if you are out there trying to get insurance on the individual market. now, the last point i would make, before --

LEHRER: Two minutes is up, sir.

OBAMA: No, I think -- I had five seconds before you interrupted me.

It is not going well.

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