In the first of three presidential debates last week, President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney largely repeated the proposals to grow the economy, add jobs and bolster American businesses that they have reiterated for months, with much of the debate focusing on lowering corporate tax rates.

Obama said he would reduce the tax rate for manufacturers to 25 percent, close tax loopholes that reward U.S companies for moving jobs overseas and incentivize companies to hire U.S. workers. That is consistent with his message on the campaign trail that Congress should pass legislation giving companies a 20 percent tax credit for the cost of moving jobs back to the United States, and a 10 percent tax credit for small businesses that hire workers and increase wages.

The president also supported hiring 100,000 new math and science teachers, cited his record of cutting taxes for small businesses 18 times and emphasized investing in alternative energy.

“We’ve got to look at the energy sources of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels, and make those investments,” he said, but didn’t specifically mention his previous support for extending a federal tax credit — set to expire at the end of 2012 — for businesses that produce wind and other alternative energy.

Romney also honed in on energy, saying North American energy independence would create 4 million new jobs — a nod to the energy plan he began promoting in August that calls for opening up new areas for drilling off the coast of Virginia and the Carolinas, loosening environmental regulations, promoting coal production and building the Keystone XL Pipeline.

He also vowed to champion small business.

“Over the last four years, small-business people have decided that America may not be the place to open a new business because new business start-ups are down to a 30-year low,” he said. “I know what it takes to get small businesses going again, to hire people.”

Romney repeated his intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which he claimed has “killed jobs.”

“I just don’t know how the president could have come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis ... and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for Obamacare instead of fighting for jobs for the American people,” he said.