In exchanges full of policy proposals, facts and figures at their first presidential debate on Wednesday, GOP challenger Mitt Romney was more aggressive in the 90-minute encounter in criticizing President Barack Obama's record and depicting the president's vision as one of big government while Obama firmly defended his record and challenged his rival's prescriptions as unworkable.
The candidates clashed over major reform bills passed in Obama's first term, with Romney repeating his past pledge to repeal and replace the health care reform act and the Wall Street reform bill.
Insisting that regulation was necessary to keep the economy functioning, Romney said the Dodd-Frank Act passed in response to the financial crisis of 2008 was in some cases excessive.
He also repeated criticism the Affordable Care Act that passed with no Republican support amounted to an unnecessary and unwanted government takeover of health care.
"The right answer is not to have the federal government take over health care," Romney said, adding his plan would include popular provisions of Obamacare such as allowing children up to age 26 stay on family plans and preventing insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Obama, however, said Romney has yet to provide full details of proposals to replace the Wall Street and health care reforms he has vowed to repeal.
"At some point, the American people have to ask themselves if the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans secret is because they're too good," Obama said.
The other presidential debates will occur on October 16 in New York and October 22 in Florida. Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Romney's running mate, will debate on October 11 in Kentucky.
Watch full election coverage on CNN TV, CNN.com and CNN's mobile apps. On your CNN.com browser, use our new digital tool to view, replay and share your favorite debate clips from this evening.Watch live coverage now on http://CNN.com/Live
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