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That debate and the numbers

There has already been enough commentary on the Obama-Romney debate but this New York Times piece, written before the debate, looks at the numbers which are likely to figure in the discussion.

A sample:

"But their main points through their month of debates will be delivered through a blizzard of numbers, and here is a roundup of the most frequently cited figures that have been at the core of the arguments between the two campaigns.

8.1 PERCENT The unemployment rate, probably the most frequently cited number in the 2012 presidential campaign. Mr. Romney cites it as evidence of the president’s persistent failure to confront a sluggish economy. Mr. Obama counters by citing more than two years of positive job growth.

30 The number of months in which the country added private-sector jobs. Mr. Obama frequently uses it to push back against Mr. Romney’s attacks that he has failed at job creation.

47 PERCENT The now-famous proportion of the public that Mr. Romney said were “dependent” on the government and viewed themselves as “victims.” The president’s campaign has seized on the comments from secretly recorded remarks as evidence of Mr. Romney’s true feelings toward the less well off.

100 PERCENT The proportion of the American public that Mr. Romney says he will represent as president. During the debates, Mr. Romney is likely to emphasize this number frequently as he tries to counter the perception that he cares only about the wealthy.

$5,000,000,000,000 This $5 trillion figure is the cost of Mr. Romney’s proposals to cut taxes for the wealthy, according to Mr. Obama’s campaign. The president’s claim that Mr. Romney would raise taxes on the middle class is driven by this estimate of the Republican tax cuts.

$16,000,000,000,000 The amount of United States debt. Mr. Romney has tried repeatedly to get people focused on the country’s $16 trillion debt after four years of an Obama presidency. (His convention even featured a large debt clock.) For Republicans, it is a good way to motivate swing voters in places like Colorado.

$2,000 The amount that Mr. Obama says middle-class taxes will go up if Mr. Romney is elected. The president bases this on a study by a bipartisan research institute, and uses it frequently on the stump. .

5 The number of days that Mr. Romney says the United States government knew about the terrorist connections to the attack in Benghazi, Libya, before acknowledging them. Four people were killed, including the ambassador. Wednesday night’s debate was focused on domestic policy, but Mr. Romney seems eager to push the idea that Mr. Obama was covering up the true nature of the attack.

$3.80 The average price of a gallon of gas. Energy has faded a bit as an issue since the summer. But if he gets a chance, Mr. Romney will use the debates to note that gas was $1.84 a gallon when Mr. Obama took office."

Continue reading here.


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