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Personal asides at the presidential debate bring a smile

October 03, 2012|By Robin Abcarian
  • Mitt Romney with wife Ann and other family members after Wednesday's presidential debate in Denver.
Mitt Romney with wife Ann and other family members after Wednesday's… (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg )

The candidates may slog it out about weighty topics like taxes, deficits and the role of federal government, but when they invoke their families, it’s hard not to smile.

Wednesday evening in Denver, the first of three presidential debates opened with the acknowledgment of a milestone in President Obama’s marriage: his 20th anniversary.

“There are a lot of points I want to make tonight,” Obama said. “But the most important one is that 20 years ago I became the luckiest man on Earth because Michelle Obama agreed to marry me. And so I just want to wish, Sweetie, you happy anniversary and let you know that a year from now we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people.”

WHAT THEY SAID: The first presidential debate

Republican nominee Mitt Romney, setting the tone for his easy and confident 90-minute exchange with Obama, took the opportunity to congratulate the couple in his first response.

“And congratulations to you, Mr. President, on your anniversary,” he said. “I’m sure this was the most romantic place you could imagine…here with me.”

Later in the debate, Romney invoked his five rambunctious (now adult) sons in response to the president’s assertion that Romney’s plan to close loopholes for upper-income taxpayers would not come close to paying for his proposed tax cuts and additional military spending.

PHOTOS: Scenes from the first presidential debate

“Virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate,” Romney said.  “I know that you and your running mate keep saying that, and I know it's a popular thing to say with a lot of people, but it's just not the case. Look, I've got five boys. I'm used to people saying something that's not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I'll believe it. But that -- that is not the case. All right?”

For a moment, one could only imagine the Romney family dinner table of years past: more contentious than a presidential debate.

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robin.abcarian@latimes.com

Twitter: @robinabcarian

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