SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

October 4, 2012

Aggressive Romney puts Obama on defensive in first debate

DENVER — An energetic Mitt Romney launched a series of attacks against President Barack Obama here Wednesday night, calling into question the president's record on the economy, health care and the deficit and arguing that he would take the country in a fundamentally different direction.

Obama sought to parry Romney's criticisms, charging that his rival favors a top-down approach to the economy that would reward the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class and that the details of Romney's proposals don't add up. But he found himself on the defensive repeatedly during their first debate, held on the campus of the University of Denver.

Romney came into the 90-minute debate after several difficult weeks but appeared rejuvenated by the opportunity to take his case directly to Obama and the American people. He was both well prepared and aggressive as he hammered the president. The contrast with Obama was striking, as the president appeared less energetic even as he rebutted some of the toughest of Romney's attacks.

The debate is likely to give Romney what he needed most, which is a fresh look from voters_at least those still undecided or open to changing their minds_and will change the conversation about the campaign, which for the past two weeks has been tilted in the president's favor. Romney now faces the challenge of trying to build on his performance and keep the president on the defensive in the days ahead.

Romney offered conservative policies throughout the evening but he often sounded like a more moderate candidate than he often does in campaign appearances. He is likely to face a challenge from Obama and the Democrats in the days to come about the contrast in tone and posture on display during the night.

But Republicans of all stripes were immediately cheered by the aggressiveness they saw in Romney Wednesday night and took it as a sign that his campaign was ready to wage a fierce battle between now and Nov. 6.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Election

Local News
  • Salem extends principal search SALEM -- Superintendent Stephen Russell has extended the search for three new principals, arguably the most important personnel decisions he will make in his three years as head of the public schools. Russell is about to hire principals to guide turn

    April 24, 2014

  • 140423_SN_KYU_CROSSWALK A safer place to cross

    PEABODY -- A little more than a year after tragedy struck, the new pedestrian traffic signal in front of St. Adelaide's Parish is installed and operational. "My dad worked his whole life in the service of his community, church and country, and it giv

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • MBTA proposes commuter-rail fee increase SALEM -- The train to Boston is about to get more expensive. Across-the-board fare increases recently proposed by the MBTA would raise the price of single trips on the commuter rail by 25 to 50 cents and the cost of monthly passes from between $10 fo

    April 24, 2014

  • Unrepentant serial drunken driver gets 31/2 to 5 years PEABODY -- Despite what a judge and prosecutor called an attempt to "hijack" the proceedings in his case, a serial drunken driver from Peabody was sentenced to state prison yesterday. Right up to the end, Peter Hurley, 53, was adamant that he'd done

    April 24, 2014

  • pipes1 Sewerage repair delay sparks worry MARBLEHEAD -- Serious concerns are building over delays in the repair of a sewer pipe connecting Marblehead to the South Essex Sewerage District in Salem. The need for replacing the two pipes became apparent in March 2013, when one began to leak int

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos