Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama zinger count: First presidential debate 2012

Big Bird reads to Connor Scott and Tiffany

Big Bird reads to Connor Scott and Tiffany Jiao during a taping of Sesame Street in Manhattan. (April 10, 2008) (Credit: AP)

With so much hype before the first presidential debate about the Romney campaign's focus on arming the candidate with one-line “zingers,” the delivery fell short of expectations. With a generous accounting of those zingers, Romney came out ahead, but not by much.

Final score: Mitt Romney 5, Barack Obama 3.

Mitt Romney, on the declining incomes of the middle class: “I call it the 'economy tax'."


WATCH AND VOTE: Who won the debate's key moments?

FEATURES: Obama's most-used words | Romney's most-used words | One word to describe Obama, Romney's performance?

PHOTOS: Hofstra debateDebate on Instagram | Cartoonists on the debates


Barack Obama on Romney's tax plan: “He's been running on this tax plan for 18 months and now his big, bold idea is 'nevermind'."

Mitt Romney, on budget cuts: “I'm sorry Jim [Lehrer], but I'll cut funding to PBS. I love Big Bird, I actually like you too, but I'm going to stop borrowing money from China to pay for things we don't need.”

Mitt Romney on Obama's idea that companies can claim a tax break for moving jobs overseas: “I've been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you're talking about. I need a better accountant.”

Barack Obama, referring to Romney's plan to reform Medicare into a voucher-type program, after Romney clarified that it will not affect current retirees but only future retirees (and said “if you're 60 or over you can stop listening"): "If you're 54 or 55, you might want to listen, because this WILL affect you.”

Mitt Romney on Obama's health care legislation: “In my experience as governor, if I come in and say 'my way or the highway,' I don't get much done.”

Barack Obama on Romney's education reform plan: “It wasn't very detailed, which seems to be a trend.”

Mitt Romney responding to Obama's comments about education reform: “As president you're entitled to your own house, your own plane, but not your own facts.”

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