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October 4, 2012 8:25 pm

Jewish Dems, GOPers React to First Presidential Debate

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Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at the first presidential debate Oct. 3 in Denver. Photo: Screenshot.

Jewish Republicans reacted to the Oct. 3 presidential debate in Denver by touting the aggressive performance of challenger Mitt Romney, while Jewish Democrats criticized what they called myths promoted by the former Massachusetts governor.

Following the first of what will be three debates between Romney and President Barack Obama, 67 percent of registered voters surveyed in a CNN/ORC snap poll said Romney won the debate, and 25 percent said Obama won. The debate centered on the economy and health care.

Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement that Romney was “in command of the facts” and “secure in his principles” during the debate.

“Romney made his case effectively on taxes, jobs, protecting the middle class, and health care,” Brooks said. “But he also gave voice to the enduring values of America, showed how far we have strayed from them under the Obama administration, and pledged to turn America back onto the path of economic growth and opportunity for all.”

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The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), however, said Romney “used the night to continue peddling Republican policies—including on health care and other important domestic issues—that most Jewish voters simply do not support.” NJDC disputed Romney’s statements that Obama is cutting $716 billion from Medicare to fund the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and that Obamacare adds to existing health care costs per family.

Regarding Romney’s comment that he is “not going to cut education funding,” NJDC noted that the proposed budget of his running mate—Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan—”calls for a $115 billion cut to the Department of Education.

While RJC’s Brooks said Romney “took control” of the debate and “won it handily on both substance and style,” NJDC’s statement did not explicitly claim a debate victory for Obama. Both organizations’ statements evaluated Romney’s debate, rather than Obama’s.

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