"The magnitude of the tax cuts that you're talking about, Governor, would end up resulting in severe hardship for people, but more importantly, would not help us grow," he said.
Romney repeatedly has declined to say just what loopholes and deductions he would eliminate and passed up opportunities to do so again Wednesday. But he charged that Obama had mischaracterized his tax plan, claiming that it is not a $5 trillion cut.
"Let me repeat what I said," Romney said. "I'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. That's not my plan. My plan is not to put in place any tax cut that will add to the deficit."
Obama and Romney clashed over Medicare, with both candidates promising to protect the health care program for seniors. Obama accused Romney of wanting to turn it into a voucher program while Romney claimed that the president cut $716 million from Medicare to help pay for the Affordable Care Act.
Romney was eager to launch into a critique of the Affordable Care Act, the landmark legislation that he cited as his top example of programs that must go to close the federal deficit. "I apologize, Mr. President," Romney added after referring to the program as Obamacare. "I use that term with respect."
"I like it," the president quickly responded, but that was about their only real point of agreement.
Romney argued that the program would raise health care costs and make it less likely that businesses hire new workers. He accused Obama of establishing an unelected board to make health-care decisions for patients, and of cutting more than $700 billion out of Medicare to help pay for the new law. And he chastised him for "pushing through" legislation of such magnitude without a single Republican vote.