Austinites have questions for presidential candidates on debate night


by MARK WIGGINS / KVUE News and Photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarkW_KVUE

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 10:29 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 4 at 7:48 AM

AUSTIN -- As Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney prepared to square off in their first presidential debate Wednesday night, many in Austin were still looking for answers.

"I'd like to hear something from Romney to expand on his policies other than just his tax plan," said Austin resident Judith Averill, who said she is concerned with the current president's handling of the economy.

"First of all, I would eliminate all programs by this test if they don't pass it: Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? If not we'll get rid of it," Romney said while describing an attrition-based proposal to eliminate certain federal agencies and functions, including PBS and the Affordable Care Act.

"'Obamacare is on my list. I apologize Mr. President, I use that term with all respect," continued Romney, to which the president replied, "I like it."

"If they don't spend three quarters of the time talking about the economy, it is a travesty," Facebook friend Robert told the KVUE Insider Wednesday evening.

The debate format called for 45 minutes of the 90 minute debate to focus on economic issues, however moderator and PBS NewsHour host Jim Lehrer allowed candidates to go well beyond the planned time limit responding to economic issues.

"Really I want to hear from the both of them just something with some substance," said Austin resident Tristan Axe. "Some real nuts and bolts. Sort of what it is that they actually intend to do. Not the, 'Oh we're going to fix the economy, we're going to do this.' Well how are you going to do it?"

"Governor Romney and I do share a deep interest in encouraging small business growth," Obama elaborated on taxation and small businesses, while also proposes to allow taxes for those earning more than $250,000 annually to return to Clinton-era rates.

"At the same time that my tax plan has already lowered taxes for 98 percent of families, I also lowered taxes for small business 18 times, and what I want to do is continue," Obama said.

"We agree we ought to bring the tax rates down and I do, both for corporations and for individuals," Romney said on the same subject. "But in order for us not to use revenue and have the government run out of money, I also lower deductions and credits and exemptions so that we keep taking in the same money when you also account for growth."

Both candidates detailed a multitude of claims and proposals in their first debate which will be scrutinized closely over the coming days.

Whether anything in the hour and a half of back-and-forth between the two opponents satisfies the concerns of those still on the fence is a question that will weigh heavily on each campaign as well.