U.S. President Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during the Presidential Debate at the University of Denver on October 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.
In a showdown at close quarters, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney sparred aggressively in their first campaign debate Wednesday night over taxes, deficits and strong steps needed to create jobs in a sputtering national economy. "The status quo is not going to cut it," declared the challenger.
Obama in turn accused his rival of seeking to "double down" on economic policies that actually led to the devastating national downturn four years ago — and of evasiveness on details for Romney proposals on tax changes, health care, Wall Street regulation and more.
Both men made frequent references to the weak economy and high national unemployment, by far the dominant issue in the race for the White House. Public opinion polls show Obama with a slight advantage in key battleground states and nationally, and Romney was particularly aggressive, like a man looking to shake up the campaign with a little less than five weeks to run.
Marc Serota/Getty Images
This composite image shows Barack Obama (L) and Mitt Romney. The Nov. 6, 2012 elections will decide who between Obama and Romney who will win to become the next president of the United States.
Please enjoy our live blogging of the debate