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Obama and Romney spar over economy in Denver debate

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney sparred over their economic plans in the first of three televised presidential debates on Wednesday in Denver, Colorado.

    The 90-minute debate at the University of Denver, moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS NewsHour, was the first time voters across the United States had the chance to see Obama and Romney share the stage.

    Romney has long criticized the Democratic incumbent for his economic record and appeared as a confident contender on the debate stage.

    In contrast, Obama often seemed uncertain, asking Lehrer for more time to finish his points.

    Obama currently maintains a marginal lead against Romney in national polls and in many recent polls carried out in the key battleground states that will decide the outcome of the November 6 election.

    The latest national survey, released on Tuesday by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, shows Obama leading by 49 percent to 46 percent.

    In recent weeks, Romney has struggled in the polls following the release of a secretly filmed video where he is seen telling a private fundraising event that the 47 percent of Americans who did not pay income tax perceived themselves as "victims" and were dependent on government help.

    In the next coming days, the candidates' body language will be thoroughly analyzed along with their tone of voice and how they handled the pressure, with both camps likely to jump on any gaffe in a bid to claim victory.

    Two presidential debates still remain: a town-hall style foreign policy debate on October 16 in Hempstead, New York and a final debate on October 22 in Boca Raton, Florida. The sole vice-presidential debate will take place on October 11 in Danville, Kentucky.