WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- The first of three presidential debates is done. One of the hot topics between President Obama and Mitt Romney was health care and medicare.
This debate was so focused on the economy, that it took 45 minutes before the candidates first mentioned health care.
But when they did, it was one of the more lively exchanges of the night.
Mitt Romney point blank told the president that, if elected, he would repeal his health care law. The president responded by saying, but we've seen this model work really well - in Massachusetts. Here's part of that exchange:
Romney:" I want to take that $716 billion you've cut and put it back into Medicare. By the way, we can include a prescription program if we need to improve it. But the idea of cutting $716 billion from Medicare to be able to balance the additional cost of Obamacare is, in my opinion, a mistake. And with regards to young people coming along, I've got proposals to make sure Medicare and Social Security are there for them without any question."
Obama: "If you repeal Obamacare, and I have become fond of this term, 'Obamacare,' if you repeal it, what happens is those seniors right away are going to be paying $600 more in prescription care. They're now going to have to be paying copays for basic checkups that can keep them healthier. And the primary beneficiary of that repeal are insurance companies that are estimated to gain billions of dollars back when they aren't making seniors any healthier. And I don't think that's the right approach when it comes to making sure that Medicare is stronger over the long term."
The big issue of the night was job creation, which the candidates spent the first 30 minutes talking about.
President Obama said, "Over the last 30 months, we've seen 5 million jobs in the private sector created. The auto industry has come roaring back. And housing has begun to rise. But we all know that we've still got a lot of work to do. And so the question here tonight is not where we've been, but where we're going. Governor Romney has a perspective that says if we cut taxes, skewed towards the wealthy, and roll back regulations, that we'll be better off. I've got a different view."
Romney stated, "Now, I'm concerned that the path that we're on has just been unsuccessful. The president has a view very similar to the view he had when he ran four years, that a bigger government, spending more, taxing more, regulating more -- if you will, trickle-down government -- would work. That's not the right answer for America."
But the most memorable, and probably most talked about, moment was Mitt Romney slamming Seasame Street's Big Bird. The comment that lit up Twitter more than anything else was a comment by Mitt Romney about how he would cut spending to PBS...and the debate was hosted by PBS's Jim Lehr.
"I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to -- I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That's number one," said Romney.
This debate was the most tweeted about political event in history: 10.3 million tweets in total. That Big Bird comment generated 17,000 Tweets per minute.
Our partners at CBS News talked with "uncommitted" voters who watched the debate. By a 2-to-1 margin, they said Mitt Romney "won" the debate. The poll didn't define what a "win" is.
- 46 percent said Romney was the winner.
- 22 percent believe President Obama won.
- 32 percent deemed it a tie.
Among those uncommitted voters, 56 percent said they felt "better" about Mitt Romney after the debate. Eleven percent felt worse. Thirty two percent had no change in their opinion.
As for President Obama, 13 percent of those polled came away with a better impression. Seventeen percent felt worse while 69 percent felt the same.