WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama and Mitt Romney focused on revenue and spending, with an emphasis on health care, in their first presidential debate.
With the focus on the economy, foreign policy was mentioned only in passing as the candidates squared off Wednesday at the University of Denver.
Obama said Romney’s plans to repeal his health care reform passed in 2010 would remove new protections, including mandatory coverage for those with preexisting conditions and coverage for children up until age 26 under their parents’ plans.
Romney said such coverage was a matter best left to the states, and reiterated his claims that the federal plan inhibits business growth and costs jobs.
Obama criticized Romney’s plan to transition Medicare, the federal insurance program for the elderly, to private insurers, saying it would drive up costs for seniors. Romney said the change was needed to salvage the program.
Romney also outlined his plans for energy independence, which include promoting use of domestic resources, among them coal. Romney also advocated increased drilling on public lands.
The candidates will focus on foreign policy in the third of their three debates, on Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.