* Romney says $2.8 billion a year in breaks "on the table"

* Would be a trade-off for lower corporate taxes

* Assails Obama's green energy stimulus

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney hinted he could eliminate billions of dollars in U.S. oil and tax breaks if he were elected, but the reductions would be far less than what President Barack Obama wants.

Romney signaled in the first presidential debate in Denver on Wednesday that annual reductions of some $2.8 billion in tax breaks for oil and natural gas companies could be eventually traded for a lower corporate tax rate if he won on Nov. 6.

"If we get that tax rate from 35 percent down to 25 percent, why that $2.8 billion is on the table," Romney said at the debate in Colorado, a state that produces both fossil fuels and clean energy like solar and wind power. "Of course it's on the table. That's probably not going to survive if you get that tax rate down to 25 percent."

Obama's tax plan overhaul calls for a more moderate reduction in the corporate tax rate of 28 percent. But he has long pushed for steeper reductions in oil and gas breaks of $4 billion annually.

Both candidates' plans to trim oil and gas tax breaks would face uphill battles in Congress because the industry has gotten the breaks for decades.

But Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners in Washington, said he sees a potential opening for cutting some of the breaks because conservative leaders in the House of Representatives represent energy consumers rather than energy producers. The opposite was true during the administration of George W. Bush.

Romney also used the tax debate to slam Obama's 2009 green energy stimulus. "In one year you provided $90 billion in tax breaks to the green energy world," the Republican said, bringing out a line he has used on the campaign trail since August. "Now I like green energy as well, but that's about 50 years' worth of what oil and gas receives."

Americans for Prosperity, a non-profit advocacy group backed by the conservative Koch brothers, said Obama has wasted $90 billion on green energy "schemes" like Solyndra, a solar panel maker that went bankrupt after it got more that $500 million in government loans.

The $90 billion number is exaggerated, Book said, because some of the funding went to projects that were initiated during the Bush era and because some of it has yet to be distributed.

Obama did not respond to Romney's description of the size of the clean energy stimulus.

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  • Wealthy Benefit Most From Tax Cuts

    Paul Ryan's most recent budget proposal would save those making between $20,000 and $30,000 just $246 in taxes, compared to savings of $265,011 for those who make over $1 million, according to analysis from the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/2012/04/02/gIQAjn0grS_graphic.html" target="_hplink">Center on Budget and Policy Priorities</a>.

  • Health Care Cuts

    The "Path to Prosperity" would cut $2.4 trillion from Medicaid and other health care programs for people with low or moderate incomes, according to analysis from the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/2012/04/02/gIQAjn0grS_graphic.html" target="_hplink">Center on Budget and Policy Priorities</a>.

  • Fewer People Covered By Medicaid

    Under Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" as many as 44 million fewer people would be covered under Medicaid, <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7417870n" target="_hplink">according to CBS News</a>.

  • Reduced Health Care For Retirees

    Ryan would raise the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67. If the Affordable Care Act was repealed, something Romney has pledged, that means many 65- and 66-year-olds would be left uninsured, the <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/08/11/seven-things-the-media-needs-to-know-about-paul/189277" target="_hplink">CBPP reports</a>.

  • Seniors Would Pay More For Health Coverage

    Under Ryan's "Path to Prosperity," senior citizens would have to pay as much as 68 percent of their health care coverage, up from 25 percent today, <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7417870n" target="_hplink">CBS News reports.</a>

  • Cuts To Food Stamp Programs

    Ryan's proposed "Path to Prosperity" includes $134 billion in cuts to SNAP, according to analysis from the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/2012/04/02/gIQAjn0grS_graphic.html" target="_hplink">Center on Budget and Policy Priorities</a>.

  • Lower Tax Credit For Single Moms

    A single mother of two working full time at the minimum wage would have her Child Tax Credit cut by more than $1,500, assuming she made $14,500 a year, according to the <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/08/11/seven-things-the-media-needs-to-know-about-paul/189277" target="_hplink">Center on Budget and Policy Priorities</a>.

  • Less Money For Education

    Compared to the most recent White House budget proposal, Ryan's budget spends 33 percent less on education, training, employment and social services, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/08/12/what-paul-ryans-budget-actually-cuts-and-by-how-much/" target="_hplink">the <em>Washington Post</em> reports</a>.

  • Poor Weather Forecasts

    Ryan's proposed cuts to environment and natural resource programs could result in weather forecasts being only half as accurate, according to Third Way's budget expert, David Kendall. "For many people planning a weekend outdoors, they may have to wait until Thursday for a forecast as accurate as one they now get on Monday," <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/08/12/what-paul-ryans-budget-actually-cuts-and-by-how-much/" target="_hplink">he's quoted as saying in the <em>Washington Post</em></a>.

  • No Raises For Government Workers

    The current government worker pay freeze would be extended under the "Path to Prosperity," meaning public-sector employees wouldn't get a raise until at least 2015, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/paul-ryans-budget-plan-hits-federal-workers/2012/08/11/8953b832-e3a3-11e1-98e7-89d659f9c106_blog.html" target="_hplink">the <em>Washington Post</em> reports</a>.