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Obama, Romney to Debate Tonight

***UPDATE 10 P.M.***DENVER (AP) – President Barack Obama says the United States is making progress in repairing the struggling economy he inherited when he took office while his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, says the Democratic incumbent favors a “trickle-down government, if you will.”Obama and Romney opened their first of three presidential debates Wednesday with disagreements on how the government could help add jobs.Obama pointed to progress made in saving Detroit’s auto industry and rebuilding the housing market. Romney, meanwhile, says he would take a different path that gets government out of the way for American businesses.Obama says Romney’s plan would cut taxes for high-income workers. Romney says that is incorrect and that wealthy Americans will do just fine regardless whether he or Obama is in the White House.When asked about taxes, Romney says that Obama has mischaracterized his tax plan by calling it a $5 trillion tax cut. Obama responded that Romney appears to be backing away from his own plan.Romney says “everything” Obama said about Romney’s tax plan is inaccurate. Most importantly, Romney says his plan will not increase taxes for the middle class, as Obama contends.Romney says his plan is to provide tax relief by lowering them for all Americans, while eliminating deductions and exemptions in the tax code.Obama retorts that Romney appears to be saying “never mind” about his own tax plan. Obama says he will lower taxes for middle-class families.The debate then turned to Medicare, where Obama said Romney would turn Medicare into a private system and put seniors at the mercy of insurance companies. Romney counters that the incumbent Democrat already has raided the Medicare fund and weakened the system.Obama and Romney clashed on the popular – though costly – health program for seniors. Both promised that they would not cut benefits for older Americans but sharply disagreed about options for younger workers.Obama says he is cutting down on excessive payments in the system so the program survives for future generations.Romney calls those cuts a slashing from seniors’ care to pay for Democrats’ health care law.Romney, however, didn’t mention that his running mate, Paul Ryan, proposed similar cuts.Meanwhile, Romney is vowing to repeal Obama’s health care law, saying it adds costs to the health system and has led to Medicare cuts.Romney says in the first presidential debate that Obama spent his energy pushing through a massive health care law rather than trying to fix the struggling economy.Romney says it’s expensive and expensive things hurt families.Obama says his administration worked on the health care law at the same time he was working to create jobs. He says the law has helped people with pre-existing conditions and those who have children under age 26.The president counters that he based the law on Romney’s own plan when he was governor.Obama says, quote, “We’ve seen this model work really well – in Massachusetts.”When questioned about the government’s role in Americans’ lives, Obama says Romney favors cutting a fifth of the Education Department’s budget while Romney is countering that Obama directed $90 billion to so-called “green jobs” – a sum, he says, that would hire 2 million teachers.Obama says there are challenges that only the federal government can solve. Romney says government should do only what is prescribed in the Constitution and challenges that only have federal solutions, such as national security.Obama pointed to Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, whose budget proposals make sharp cuts across the board. Romney retorted that Washington invested in new failed energy research.***ORIGINAL STORY***President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney will take part in the first debate of the presidential race Wednesday night in Denver.You can watch the debates on-air on ABC 17 (KMIZ) and FOX 22 (KQFX) as well as streaming online at under the Vote 2012 section.ABC 17 News will have live coverage from Denver on ABC 17 News at 6, 9 and 10.The news team will also be live-tweeting the debates. Just follow @ABC17News on Twitter.And join the conversation on Facebook. What do you want to hear from the candidates? Tell us at

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