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Mitt Romney scores points in presidential debate, but will it help him?

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Romney, as expected, went to great lengths to show just how much he does care about the middle class, promising tax relief to middle class families, and promising he was not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by the wealthy.

“Middle income families are being crushed,” he said.

His repeated insistence that Obama’s characterization of his tax cuts was wrong, in fact – and that he won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit – finally prompted Obama to retort that “for 18 months [Romney] has been running on this tax plan, and now, five weeks before the election, he’s saying his big bold idea is ‘never mind.’ ”

Obama seemed strangely lacking in energy for much of the debate, though he came on stronger in the final half hour, and repeatedly returned to subjects where he felt he was strong: education, which played a much more prominent role in the debate than many expected, and his compassion for middle-class Americans.

He also scored more effective points when he repeatedly called Romney to task for his lack of details on his proposals.

Romney “says he’s going to close deductions and loopholes for his tax plan … but we don’t know the details,” Obama said. “He says he’s going to replace Dodd-Frank, Wall Street reform, but we don’t know exactly which ones. He won’t tell us. He now says he’s going to replace Obamacare and ensure that all the good things that are in it are going to be in there and you don’t have to worry. And at some point, I think the American people have to ask themselves, is the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret because they’re too good?”

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