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Filler: Sparring on deficit, Mitt Romney seems more comfortable than Barack Obama

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver. (Oct. 3, 2012) Credit: AP

Overall, Romney seems more comfortable than usual, and Obama less. And Lehrer just seems like a paperweight.

Ah, the deficit. and how to fix it.

Romney wants to lower spending on all programs that aren't so critical we should borrow money from China to fund it. No Obamacare, no PBS (I agree, but there's no money in it), combining departments, etc. So, no answer at all, particularly when you consider Romney wants to increase military spending.

Obama is going to fight taking blame for the $1 trillion annual deficits, and he's right. The money is in the wars, the Bush tax cuts and unfunded Medicare expansion, all of which he inherited. Now what to do about it?

Obama has a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, and it's $2.50 in cuts for every dollar in revenue. And he's hitting Romney on the Republican debate pledge of no new tax revenues under any circumstances.

It's a Simpson-Bowles showdown. Neither of them supports it but both want to bash the other over the head with it. Childish.

Romney is proud that he doesn't want any new tax revenues, but he's linking the idea to the recession more than an overarching political philosophy, saying he doesn't want to do it "in this environment."

Romney is a straight supply-sider on this stuff. he has Art Laffer in his corner, and he's not afraid to use the man's curve. So this is a real difference between the two candidates. Obama wants more revenue, and higher taxes in several categories. Okay, it's something to vote on, based on your preference. It's a clear, defined difference.

Oil subsidies, private jet subsidies, Obama is hitting a lot of tax increases that won't garner much money, but they are high on the emotional scale.

Romney says oil subsidy is only $2.8 billion, not $4 billion. I don't think I would have used my allotted time to make that point. But can he make more hay bashing green energy subsidies? Maybe. It is an awful lot of money, although the debate is getting so complicated it's hard to follow the specifics.

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