DENVER - Mitt Romney accused US President Barack Obama on Wednesday of promoting "trickle-down government" policies that are burdening the US economy, as the Republican candidate sought to use a high-stakes debate to right his struggling campaign before the Nov 6 presidential election.
As polls showed Obama with a slight edge among voters, Romney was the aggressor from the start of a 90-minute encounter between the two rivals at the University of Denver.
Appearing poised as he stood side-by-side with Obama for the first time, Romney zeroed in on weak economic growth and 8.1 percent unemployment that has left Obama vulnerable in his effort to win a second four-year term.
"Now, I'm concerned that we're on the path that's just been unsuccessful. The president has a view very similar to the one he had when he ran for office four years go, that spending more, taxing more, regulating more, if you will, trickle-down government would work. That's not the right answer for America," Romney said.
The incumbent Democrat was quick to put Romney on the defensive about his proposals for overhauling the US tax system.
Obama said Romney was promoting the same kind of tax cut proposals that former President George W Bush pushed through Congress in 2001 and 2003.
"We ended up moving from surpluses to deficits and it all culminated with the worst recession since the Great Depression," said Obama.