Blog: Romney and Obama debate in Denver

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Check out the posts below for a blow-by-blow description of what took place during the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney at the University of Denver.

Political producer Rob Marmet will be populated the feed from inside the debate hall at Magness Arena.

David Mitchell October 3, 20129:08 pm

Closures on I-25 and University Blvd. are lifted… about an hour early. Real time traffic delays and conditions:

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:32 pm

That’s the debate. On to helping Eli Stokols put together his story for tonight. We’ll see you on tv on Fox 31 Denver after The X Factor.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:31 pm

Romney says he is concerned about direction America has taken over the last four years. Says there are two different paths we can take.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:29 pm

Spin alley comes to life during closing. Surrogates galore ready to spin for both sides.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:29 pm

President says his faith and confidence in American future is undiminished.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:28 pm

President says part of being a leader is having a plan, saying no to people in both parties occasionally. Lehrer tries to cut president off. Time has to be up by now. On to closing statements. Romney elected to go last after winning coin toss.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:26 pm

President says his philosophy is he will take ideas from anyone as long as it helps the middle class.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:26 pm

Romney says we need leadership in dc that will bring both sides together.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:25 pm

Romney says he worked across the aisle in Massachusetts with 87% democratic legislature as governor.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:24 pm

Surprised we are skipping final question. We have three minutes to talk partisan gridlock in congress.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:22 pm

Understatement of the night from Jim Lehrer. We’re running out of time.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:16 pm

Romney disputes presidents argument about Romney and schools. Says the role of government is to promote and protect life and liberty. Believes in mainlining strength of military, and must maintain commitment to religious freedom, and pursue happiness as we choose it.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:14 pm

President first to respond. Says first role of government is to keep people safe. Says fed government is there to create opportunity for people to succeed.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:07 pm

Romney says government is not effective bringing down the cost of almost anything. Says the private market is better at controlling costs.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:07 pm

What would Romney do if obamacare was repealed? Romney says pre-existing coverage and family plan age limits would not change.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:05 pm

President explaining “unelected board” Romney mentioned. Says it is a group of medical experts to make the cost of medical care more efficient. Cites the Cleveland clinic. Says they provide great care at lower than average costs.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:03 pm

Romney now explaining the differences between his law and the federal law.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20128:00 pm

President calls Romney’s law in Massachusetts a blueprint for his health reform law.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:59 pm

Now to the president’s response. Says families worry about going bankrupt if they get sick. Says he worked on health care reform while working on jobs. President says Obamacare prevents insurance companies from jerking you around.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:58 pm

Romney says obamacare has killed jobs. Romney says make it a state issue, programs that fit the needs of people in individual states.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:57 pm

Romney says there is an unelected board that determines what kind of treatment people can get.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:56 pm

Romney says more business are dropping health care for employees because they can’t afford it.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:56 pm

Now on to health care. Entire new segment. This debate on pace to end close to 9pm.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:54 pm

President says he has spearheaded the toughest reforms on Wall Street since the Great Depression. Says he has made sure big banks paid back the help they got with interest.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:52 pm

Lehrer asks is there too much regulation of the federal economy? Romney says regulation is essential. Says every free economy has good regulations. Says the president has passed excessive regulation that hurts the economy.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:50 pm

President says Medicare voucher system puts seniors at mercy of the insurance companies.

Will C. Holden October 3, 20127:44 pm

New web poll: Romney has made more jokes through 30 minutes of the debate. Have they been good?

Vote here, and continue to visit this page to vote in our growing list of polls:

Eli Stokols October 3, 20127:44 pm

We’re more than a third of the way through the debate. Romney has won the first 40 minutes, hands down. It remains to be seen what the reaction is to his statements contradicting his tax plan, but he’s been succint and sharp in his arguments and relatable to people watching at home. Obama has sounded like a professor and his answers are too long. It looks like he’s playing prevent defense…and he’s only up by a field goal. With a lot of time left on the clock.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:43 pm

Romney corrects himself, says president is actually cutting from Medicare. Because of health reform law.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:43 pm

Romney says seniors depend on entitlements. Says neither him or president are proposing changes for current or soon to be retirees.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:41 pm

President talks about his grandparents. Says his grandmother could be independent because of social security and Medicare.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:40 pm

Here we go part three of the economy. Entitlements. Lehrer asks president is there a big difference between the two candidates on social security?

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:36 pm

In spin alley I haven’t seen this much frantic note taking since my freshman year of college. Amazing to see so many journalists in their element.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:33 pm

Romney says the president raised taxes and killed jobs.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:32 pm

I have to wonder if most Americans know what Simpson-Bowles is? It was a bipartisan commission to reduce the debt.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:30 pm

President says he has removed 50 billion of waste, has cut a trillion in spending from the budget. Has $4 trillion deficit reduction plan.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:29 pm

President says he inherited trillion dollar deficit because of wars, unpaid for tax cuts, programs that weren’t paid for and economic crisis.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:28 pm

Romney says he will cut subsidy to PBS. Even though he likes both Big Bird and Jim Lehrer.

Will C. Holden October 3, 20127:27 pm

We’ve got a new Denver Debate web poll up: Pundits are saying Romney is abandoning the tax plan he’s been pushing for 18 months. Do you agree with that sentiment?

Cast your vote here:

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:27 pm

Romney says debt and deficit fix is a moral issue for future generations. Says there are three ways to cut it. Raise taxes, cut spending and grow economy.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:26 pm

Segment two going now. Topic is the debt. Question is how do you go about tackling it.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:23 pm

More audio problems in spin alley. Microphones dropping in and out. Hope this isn’t the case for all of you watching at home.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:21 pm

First segment went way over the set 15 minutes. Could be a long one in Denver tonight.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:18 pm

And the echo is gone. All is well in spin alley.

Will C. Holden October 3, 20127:18 pm

We’ve got a new Denver Debate web poll up: Which candidate is making a better argument about what he’ll do for the middle class?

Cast your vote here:

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:17 pm

Someone’s very loud tv is giving us an echo in spin alley. Hard to hear what Romney is saying right now.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:16 pm

President says Romney’s tax plan just doesn’t add up.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:14 pm

President responding to tax talk. Says he has cut taxes for middle class families by about $3,600 dollars.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:14 pm

Romney says no tax cut he proposes will add to the deficit.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:12 pm

Romney says families have been dealing with “economy tax” with shrinking wages, higher food and higher gas costs.

Will C. Holden October 3, 20127:08 pm

The scene from Spin Alley. Lots of folks working this one tonight.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:08 pm

Says small businesses are key to starting economy. Says the path we have been on is unsuccessful.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:07 pm

Romney now talking about the people he has met and his five part plan for jobs.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:07 pm

Romney now responds. Congratulates president on his anniversary.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:06 pm

President says we have done a lot with jobs, but much more to do. President says we need to invest in education and training, new energy and change tax code to benefit small businesses.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:05 pm

Tonight is the President and Mrs. Obama’s 20th anniversary. POTUS promises Michelle they won’t celebrate in front of 40 million people next year.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:04 pm

Candidates enter the stage to applause from the audience. They take their place behind the podium. Segment one on the economy. Question is what are the major differences between the two of you about how you’d go about creating jobs. President won coin toss answers first

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:02 pm

The debate is underway. Jim Lehrer reading introduction, telling America about how the debate works.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20127:01 pm

Less than 30 seconds to Lehrer opening the debate.

Eli Stokols October 3, 20127:01 pm

Quiet in the media filing center as we’re inside a minute until showtime. After all the talking in here today, the only words that will matter are about to begin.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20126:59 pm

We just got two minute warning.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20126:57 pm

Silence in the debate hall. Media is getting in place to watch the debate. Jim Lehrer is doing his final microphone check. Everyone in spin alley jumped for a second when he started talking. Apparently his prompter didn’t work in the 2008 Oxford, MS debate.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20126:52 pm

Jim Lehrer appoints Ann Romney and Michelle Obama in charge of enforcing the rules. I wouldn’t mess with either of them. Hopefully the audience feels the same way. Less than ten minutes until start of debate.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20126:50 pm

Jim Lehrer now on stage. Explaining debate rules to audience. No clapping, no booing!

Eli Stokols October 3, 20126:48 pm

Snuck out of the media filing center and got stuck! Secret Service shut down security because wind blew over the tent. Finally got in through a side door. DU chancellor and dignitaries just finished addressing those seated in the debate hall. First Lady Michelle Obama and Ann Romney just entered the hall and greeted each other. We’re only about 12 minutes away from showtime.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20126:48 pm

Spin alley is a packed house. All the tvs are on showing the pre debate introductions. T minus 15 minutes to the debate. First Lady and Ann Romney now being welcomed.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20126:47 pm

The wind from the cold front caused the tent over security checkpoint at spin alley to be unstable. After a few minutes of delay, they let the media in through another entrance.

Will C. Holden October 3, 20126:43 pm

This photo is from our Daryl Orr. It’s the scene on south-bound I-25 at Santa Fe, where the road closure begins.

That closure started at 5 p.m. and will continue until 10 p.m.

Will C. Holden October 3, 20126:36 pm

We’re gotten word from our Deborah Takahara that Obama is staying at the Double Tree Hotel in Stapleton and Romney is at the Renaissance Hotel — also in Stapleton.

For any would-be lookie-loos, be advised that security at both spots is expected to be heavy.

Will C. Holden October 3, 20126:34 pm

Our Mark Meredith is reporting that there are 100 protesters marching toward the debate site at DU. They’re blocking traffic, and so far there is no sign of police. There’s also no clear sign of what they’re protesting.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20125:34 pm

Political reporter Eli Stokols is about to go live again. This time talking taxes and the news he broke Monday about Mitt Romney’s tax plan. He gets reaction from the Obama campaign and how taxes will the big topic in tonight’s debate.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20125:17 pm

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani stopped by our position in spin alley. He’s a surrogate for the Romney campaign. Political reporter Eli Stokols asked him about the economy, Libya and how Mitt Romney is preparing in the hours leading up to the debate. Other reporters are surrounding us hanging on to Rudy’s every word. Hear what he had to say tonight after the debate.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20123:57 pm

Debate is a little more than three hours away. Spin alley is filling up. There is media from all over the world along with politicians getting ready to discuss the debate.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20122:52 pm

Stepped out of spin alley for a few minutes. The wind is starting to pick up as the cold front approaches. Right now Eli is writing his story for 5:00. More to come as we get closer to debate time.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20122:30 pm

Things are starting to pick up at DU. The media center is filling up and the outdoor live positions are more crowded. So far we’ve talked with top representatives from both the Obama and Romney campaigns. Eli Stokols will have that as part of the story he’s working on for Fox 31 Denver news at 5:00.

Rob Marmet October 3, 20121:35 pm

Good afternoon from DU where we are less than six hours away from the presidential debate. I’ll be live blogging all the activities behind the scenes today as we prepare for Mitt Romney and President Obama to square off at DU.