The first round of the final series of presidential debates highlighted the differences between President Obama and former Governor Romney on energy, taxes and subsidies.
CURWOOD: From the Jennifer and Ted Stanley Studios in Boston, this is Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. The first Presidential debate dealt with domestic issues - the economy, taxes, jobs… by all accounts, Governor Romney was well prepared and combative, charging the President with imposing "trickle down government" on America.
For his part, President Obama seemed more subdued, addressing the camera and the viewers, rather than his challenger. Energy was an issue addressed early - and the President saw some common ground.
OBAMA: On energy, Governor Romney and I, we both agree that we've got to boost American energy production. And oil and natural gas production are higher than they've been in years. But I also believe that we've got to look at the energy sources of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels, and make those investments.
CURWOOD: But the President's Republican opponent had a different take on why oil and gas production is booming, and where to look for more energy.
ROMNEY: Energy is critical, and the president pointed out correctly that production of oil and gas in the U.S. is up. But not due to his policies. In spite of his policies. Mr. President, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half. If I'm president, I'll double them. And also get the — the oil from offshore and Alaska. And I'll bring that pipeline in from Canada.
And by the way, I like coal. I'm going to make sure we continue to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like it's getting crushed by your policies. I want to get America and North America energy independent, so we can create those jobs.
CURWOOD: Energy was also wrapped into the part of the debate about government deficits. President Obama said he could see some cuts.
OBAMA: The — the oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. Basically, they get deductions that those small businesses that Governor Romney refers to, they don't get. Now, does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money when they're making money every time you go to the pump? Why wouldn't we want to eliminate that?
CURWOOD: For his part, Governor Romney attacked President Obama for his investments in energy conservation and renewable energy.
ROMNEY: You put $90 billion into — into green jobs. And — and I — look, I'm all in favor of green energy. Ninety billion — that — that would have — that would have hired 2 million teachers. Ninety billion dollars. And these businesses — many of them have gone out of business. I think about half of them, of the ones have been invested in, they've gone out of business. A number of them happened to be owned by — by people who were contributors to your campaigns.
CURWOOD: Almost all the points the two candidates made are well worn talking points in stump speeches and in the barrage of campaign ads in swing states. But the debate did bring home the point whoever is at the helm in the White House for the next four years will have to chart a critical course for energy, and the economy.
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