DENVER - The morning after the first 2012 presidential debate in Denver, President Barack Obama kept pressing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to make public his plans for tax cuts during a rally at Sloan's Lake Park.
The president pounded away at his message that Romney won't explain how he'll pay for $5 trillion in tax breaks for wealthy Americans "without blowing up the deficit or sticking it to the middle class."
"When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney," Obama said of the debate at the University of Denver.
"But it couldn't have been Mitt Romney, because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy," the president said. "The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that."
During the debate, Romney said, "Virtually everything (Obama) just said about my tax plan is inaccurate."
But at the rally, Obama stressed that Romney's only specific about how he'd pay for tax breaks without adding to the deficit was that he would cut the public broadcasting budget.
"Thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird," Obama joked to laughter at the rally. "It's about time. We didn't know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit."
"The fact is Gov. Romney's math just doesn't add up. And I spent a lot of last night trying to pin him down," the president said.
"So Gov. Romney may dance around his positions, but if you want to be president you owe the American people the truth."
"So here's the truth, Gov. Romney cannot pay for his $5 trillion tax plan without blowing up the deficit or sticking it to the middle class. That's the math.
"I refuse to do that," Obama vowed.
"I refuse ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire's tax cuts," the president said. "I refuse to ask students to pay more for college or kick children out of Head Start programs or eliminate health insurance for millions of American who are poor or elderly or disabled just to pay for more tax cuts that we cannot afford."
Obama said the debate provided voters with a clear choice between his presidency and what Romney would do in the White House.
"Now you've got a choice," Obama said. "We can keep giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas or we can start rewarding companies that are opening new plants and training news workers and creating new jobs right here in the United States of America. That's what we're looking for."
"We can't afford another round of budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy. We can't afford to gut our investments in education or clean energy or research and technology. We can't afford to roll back regulations on Wall Street or oil companies or insurance companies," Obama said.
"We don't want to go back there. We tried it. It didn’t work and we are not going back, we are going forward," the president said as the crowd chanted "Four more years!"
The Romney campaign issued a rebuttal to Obama's rally speech.
"In full damage-control mode, President Obama today offered no defense of his record and no vision for the future," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said.
"Rather than a plan to fix our economy, President Obama simply offered more false attacks and renewed his call for job-killing tax hikes," Williams added. "Last night, Mitt Romney demonstrated why he should be president, laying out the clear choice in this election. We can't afford four more years of the last four years. We need a real recovery -- and Mitt Romney has a real plan to deliver it.”
A CNN poll of self-described uncommitted voters shows 67 percent of those contacted think Romney won the debate, while only 25 percent thought Obama won.
A CBS poll of self-described uncommitted voters showed that 46 percent said Romney won, while only 22 percent said the president won. Thirty-two percent said it was a tie.