You can watch the first presidential debate live from Denver with the video above, courtesy of YouTube.
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We'll be live blogging the debate here. For your convenience, you can also follow along below.
10/04/2012 1:17 AM EDT
Maryland Governor Corrects Romney Debate Line
@ GovernorOMalley :
Hey, Governor @MittRomney, Maryland schools are #1 and have been for the last four years in a row. #Debates
10/04/2012 1:06 AM EDT
Romney Cherrypicks CBO Report On Loss Of Job-Based Health Insurance
Mitt Romney made a damning charge against President Barack Obama's health care reform law during Wednesday's debate, designed to give pause to the more than 150 million Americans who get health insurance through work.
Citing the Congressional Budget Office, Romney said, "up to 20 million people will lose their insurance as Obamacare goes into effect next year."
While it's true that a March CBO report said it's possible that many people may move from job-based health insurance to some other form other coverage, Romney misrepresented the report's conclusions.
The CBO wrote in a March analysis that it expects the Affordable Care Act "will lead to a small reduction in the number of people receiving employment-based health insurance."
According to the budget office, 3 million to 5 million people will switch from job-based health insurance each year from 2019 through 2022. This would break Obama's old promise that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it," but it's not as dire as Romney suggested.
The health care reform law will extend health insurance coverage to 30 million people who otherwise would be uninsured, according to a separate CBO analysis published in July.
So where did Romney get the 20 million figure? The CBO crunched the numbers under several other scenarios, acknowledging that "there is clearly a tremendous amount of uncertainty about how employers and employees will respond to the set of opportunities and incentives under that legislation."
Under those alternative calculations the CBO concluded that as many as 20 million fewer people will get health insurance at work in 2019 alone -- but that as many as 3 million more would gain coverage through their jobs.
Romney cited a survey in 2011 by the consulting company McKinsey & Co. to support his contention. The study said 30 percent of businesses "are anticipating dropping people from coverage," Romney said.
The White House pushed back against McKinsey's findings at the time, noting that other analyses by organizations such as the RAND Corp. haven't found large numbers of companies saying they plan to drop coverage.
The health care reform law imposes new requirements on businesses, adding new incentives and disincentives. Companies with at least 50 full-time workers have to offer health benefits or pay a penalty. Some employers may find they can save money by canceling company health benefits. Workers would then obtain health insurance on the law's regulated exchange marketplaces in their states. Some companies may increase wages to compensate for the lost benefits.
Most big companies already provide health benefits and will continue doing so, in part because fringe benefits are tax-exempt and in part because they help attract and retain employees. Companies may also use more part-time workers or contractors to avoid the law's requirements, so those individuals would have to find their own plans on the exchanges or through Medicaid.
-- Jeffrey Young
10/04/2012 12:10 AM EDT
Mitt Romney Middle-Income Tax Cut Promise Contradicts Recent Claim
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney contradicted his recent statements when he said he would push for middle-class tax relief during the first presidential debate.
“My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class,” Romney said during the debate. “Middle-income Americans have seen their income come down by $4,300 [under President Barack Obama]. This is a -- this is a tax in and of itself. I'll call it the economy tax. It's been crushing.”
The statement contrasts with comments the Republican nominee made last month, when he told members of an Ohio audience they should not “be expecting a huge cut in taxes because I'm also going to lower deductions and exemptions,” as reported by HuffPost’s Sam Stein.
Median annual income has dropped nearly 5 percent since the recovery began in June 2009, according to a recent study, a significant enough decline to lead Vice President Joe Biden to say earlier this week that the middle class had been "buried" during the Obama administration's first term.
Obama has said he would sign a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the first $250,000 of U.S. income.
-- Maxwell Strachan
10/04/2012 12:03 AM EDT
Small Business Majority Challenges Romney's Small Business Claims
After the debate, the Small Business Majority released a statement challenging some of Gov. Mitt Romney's claims about small business:
A key point in the debate focused on whether small businesses would be impacted if tax cuts for high-income earners were allowed to expire at the end of the year. In fact, only 3 percent of small businesses would be affected if the “Bush tax cuts” expired, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. What’s more, many of those businesses would hardly be considered small by anyone’s standards: the committee found many of them would have revenues of more than $50 million a year.
The small businesses that line Main Street, that employ and service our local communities, are not the ones who would benefit from these cuts. And we know they don’t support extending the cuts, either. Our national polling found the majority of small businesses agree the tax cuts should lapse. What’s more, our poll showed only 3 percent of respondents had annual household income above $250,000.
The candidates also talked about healthcare reform and clean energy—both of which are important issues for small businesses. Our polling showed small business support for the Affordable Care Act when the majority said they didn’t think the Supreme Court should overturn it. They also see economic opportunities when it comes to clean energy: 71 percent of poll respondents believe it’s important that government continues to invest in clean energy."
The Small Business Majority is a non-partisan but left-leaning small-business polling and research organization, according to The New York Times.
-- Janell Ross
10/03/2012 11:47 PM EDT
Santorum Weighs In
@ RickSantorum :
Romney rocked it!
10/03/2012 11:43 PM EDT
'Mitt Romney Lied'
@ ByronTau :
DCCC: "Mitt Romney lied. On taxes. On Medicare. On Wall Street reform. On Obamacare."
10/03/2012 11:43 PM EDT
CNN Poll Shows Romney Debate Victory
Mitt Romney scored a victory among debate-watching registered voters, according to a new CNN poll.
Sixty-seven percent of those voters surveyed by CNN said they thought Romney won the debate, while only 25 percent said they thought President Barack Obama won. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they were more likely to vote for Romney after watching the debate, 18 percent for Obama and 47 percent said neither.
Romney also scored well on other measures: Fifty-five percent of respondents said they thought Romney would do a better job handling the economy, while 43 percent said they thought Obama would. Romney also scored better on who debate-watchers thought would be a stronger leader, 58 percent to 43 percent.
-- Emily Swanson
10/03/2012 11:31 PM EDT
White House Press Pool Reporters Mistakenly Pile Into Romney Van
White House press pool reporters got into the wrong motorcade, and only discovered they were in a Romney van when the driver praised the former Massachusetts governor's debate performance.
From the pool report of AFP's Stephen Collinson:
In an amusing moment, poolers were sitting in the Press One van outside the debate hall and the driver said 'I think that Romney did real good.' There was a moment of baffled silence, before our steno , Bec, put two and two together and said 'guys we are in the Romney van.' Blind panic then ensued as we piled out the van and sprinted towards the correct motorcade, which was parked right in front of Romney’s. Disaster was narrowly averted.
-- Michael McAuliff
10/03/2012 11:28 PM EDT
Romney Lumps Elderly, Poor Together
Mitt Romney skipped over the thorny problem of dealing with the majority of elderly Americans who need Medicaid to pay for nursing home care, lumping their end-of-life struggles in with caring for the poor and promising a federal payment rate that's unlikely to keep up with their needs.
"I would like to take the Medicaid dollars, give them to the states, and say to the states you're going to get what you got last year, plus inflation, plus 1 percent, and you're going to manage your care for your poor in the way you think best," Romney said, referring to a plan that outside analysts estimate would cut $1.4 trillion from Medicaid over 10 years.
"I remember as a governor, when this idea was floated by [then-Wisconsin Gov.] Tommy Thompson, governors, Republican and Democrat, said please let us do that," Romney said. "We can care for our own poor in so much better and more effective a way than having the federal government how to care for our poor."
But that plan includes not just people traditionally thought of as poor. Nearly two-thirds of Americans who need nursing home care -- including in their own homes -- depend on Medicaid to pay for it because it's so expensive. Romney didn't seem to be thinking of them when he defended his plan to replace the current Medicaid system with block grants.
The problem with inflation plus 1 percent is that inflation for long-term nursing care is often more expensive than that, and states would have to figure out how to pay for the growing difference over time.
-- Michael McAuliff
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