Solid showing by Mitt Romney in first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign with Barack Obama

Hard hitting exchanges over the economy

TAMPA - The President opened his remarks by wishing his wife a happy anniversary which gave Mitt Romney the first laugh line of the night.

"Congratulations Mr. President. I'm sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine here with me" joked Romney.
But the tone got serious fast with sharp exchanges over the economy, jobs, Medicare and tax breaks.

"Does anybody think that Exxon Mobil needs some extra money every time you go to the pump?  Why wouldn't we want to eliminate that?" asked Obama.

Romney shot back that Obama supports tax cuts and incentives for alternative energy companies.

"You put $90 billion into solar and wind, Solyndra, Tesla and Fisker.  I had a friend who said you don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers." said Romney.

That was one of the few zingers of the night.  Our local debate watcher, State Senator Paula Dockery thought Romney was appropriately forceful.   Former democratic Congressman Jim Davis thought Romney fell short.

"I think the burden tonight on Governor Romney is to talk about what he's for, not just what he's against. I think he comes into this debate with that burden and I don't think he meets that burden.

The debate was hard to score at times -- full of numbers,  statistics and accusations that were difficult to substantiate on the fly.

"I think people started to tune out, but as soon as they got to Medicare, they tuned right back in, because it either affects them or their parents," said Dockery.

See the full report in the player above.

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