President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have sparred aggressively in their first campaign debate over taxes, deficits and strong steps needed to create jobs in a sputtering national economy.
Obama accused Romney of seeking to "double down" on the same economic policies that created the economic downturn four years ago. Romney responded that "The status quo is not going to cut it."
Romney said he had plans to fix the economy, overhaul the tax code, repeal Obama's health care plan and replace with a better alternative, remake Medicare, pass a substitute for the legislation designed to prevent another financial crash and reduce deficits — but he provided no new specifics despite Obama's prodding.
Republican congressman Steve Austria from Ohio's 7th district said Romney did a better job laying out his vision for the country.
I think the Governor, Governor Romney has done a very good job on calling the President out on his policies over the last four years, and giving a specific plan as to where he would like to take the country over the next four years, specifically talking about small businesses and middle class, "says Austria. "And a big difference between expanding government and limiting government and giving our businesses and hardworking families to grow and succeed.
Nancy Maxwell was watching the debate at a Victory Center in Beavercreek. She volunteers for the Romney campaign. She says Romney started out strong and just got better from there.
"I think his closing statements were the strongest," says Maxwell. "I especially think he hit Obama bad on Medicare, and also the vision for the country, the direction of the country. Are we all going to be takers? Is the government going to be the one taking care of us, or are we all going to be masters of our own destiny."
Not surprisingly, Obama supporters watching the debates at a party in Dayton had a different take on the outcome. Judith Russell says Romney's math just doesn't add up.
"I am an accountant. When Mitt Romney mentioned the deductions that he was going to cut-tuition tax credit, student loan interest deductions-if are you gutting these credits, you may lose those if you choose one candidate or the other," says Russell. "For me, I know which economic bracket I’m in, so I know which choice I’m going to make."
Health care was the most important issue to Jay Peterson and he watched the debates to find out more about the candidates position on the matter.
"I really needed to hear some strong facts from both candidates. I think both candidates were well prepared and very articulate, which was great to see, but I do think Obama had the edge," says Peterson.
Both candidates are hitting the campaign trail following the debates. President Obama is scheduled to come to Cleveland Friday for a rally at Cleveland State University.
Community Voices Producer Basim Blunt, WYSO's Jerry Kenney and the Associated Press contributed to this report.