Barack Obama fights back after presidential debate setback
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A day after a muted performance in a presidential debate, U.S. President Barack Obama fought back against Republican rival Mitt Romney on Thursday and the Democrat's re-election campaign vowed to learn lessons from the setback.
A feisty Obama told a rally of some 12,000 people that the former Massachusetts governor was untruthful during Wednesday's 90-minute debate in Denver, which most observers reckoned the Republican won.
When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney, Obama said.
But it couldn't have been Mitt Romney, because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that.
Often criticised for being wooden, Romney's aggressive debate performance gave his campaign a burst of energy after weeks of setbacks.
Looking at times tired and displeased, Obama did not seize opportunities to attack the Republican on his business record at Bain Capital, the 47 percent video and his refusal to release more income tax returns.
And Romney tried to take the 47 percent issue away from subsequent debates. In a damaging video from a private fund-raising speech, Romney had said in May that 47 percent of voters are dependent on government and unlikely to support him.
Three weeks after the video came to light, Romney completely disavowed the remarks for the fist time, telling Fox News what he said was just completely wrong.
Clearly, in a campaign with hundreds, if not thousands of speeches and question and answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right, he said.
The debate unfolded before a national television audience of 67.2 million, according to television ratings firm Nielsen, up 28 percent compared with the first presidential debate in 2008 between Obama and Republican Senator John McCain.
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