DENVER (AP) - President Barack Obama says at the start of the first presidential debate that 20 years ago he "became the luckiest man on earth" when married his wife, first lady Michelle Obama.
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Republican rival Mitt Romney congratulated the Obamas at the start of the debate, joking that, quote, "I'm sure it's the most romantic place you can imagine, here with me."
The Obamas are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary at the Denver debate. The first lady is in attendance.
Obama called the first lady "sweetie" and wished her a happy anniversary from the debate podium.
He says, a year from now, quote, "we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people."
President Barack Obama says the United States is making progress in repairing the struggling economy he inherited when he took office while his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, says the Democratic incumbent favors a "trickle-down government, if you will."
Obama and Romney opened their first of three presidential debates Wednesday with disagreements on how the government could help add jobs.
Obama pointed to progress made in saving Detroit's auto industry and rebuilding the housing market. Romney, meanwhile, says he would take a different path that gets government out of the way for American businesses.
Obama says Romney's plan would cut taxes for high-income workers. Romney says that is incorrect and that wealthy Americans will do just fine regardless whether he or Obama is in the White House.
Romney calls the event the beginning of a month-long "conversation with the American people."
Obama plans to use the first presidential debate as the hook for fundraisers and recruiting volunteers.
Former President Bill Clinton will be helping raise money for Obama in Boston tonight, with donors paying $20,000 a person. And the Obama campaign plans more than 4,000 debate-watching events around the country.
The Romney camp plans hundreds of debate parties at restaurants, bars, grills, VFW halls and other sites concentrated in battleground states.