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CNN, CBS, NEW YORK TIMES (US)

Worldcrunch

Instant reaction polls, conducted late Wednesday night, showed Republican candidate Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate in Denver, in a performance expected to raise GOP hopes just one month before the election.

According to a CNN/ORC poll of 430 people who watched the debate, 67% of registered voters thought Romney came out on top, with only 25% believing Obama won.

The poll also suggested that 58% of voters felt Romney had shown himself to be a strong leader, while 37% said the same about Obama.

A poll of undecided voters, conducted by CBS News, also gave Romney the advantage with 46% believing Romney won, 22% siding with Obama and 32% remaining undecided.

The New York Times is reporting that the 67% swing, swaying toward Romney in the CNN poll, was higher than any of the figures in the 2008 surveys, where Obama scored 51% in the first debate and 58% in the third and final debate against Republican John McCain.

It remains unclear how much impact televised debates have on the final electoral outcome, however CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen called it Romney's best performance.

"A week ago, people were saying this was over. We've got a horse race," Gergen said.

Romney on a roll, inventing a new tax policy as he goes; Obama with that sourpuss look, head down. Not a good start for him.#denverdebate

— chrissatullo (@chrissatullo) October 4, 2012

Romney ticks off five-point plan for jobs with good verve.As Jim Fallows said, Mitt has some game when it comes to debates. #denverdebate

— chrissatullo (@chrissatullo) October 4, 2012

Romney appeared coherent and forceful last night compared to Obama, who was hesitant, drawn and defensive.

Democrat Strategist James Carville told CNN: "It looked like Romney wanted to be there and President Obama didn't want to be there ... The President didn't bring his "A" game."

#forwardnotback Obama was calm and respectful tonight Romney acted like he was a real housewife at a reunion show

— Stephen Wren (@ImNotTan) October 4, 2012

Romney wants to cut health carePre existing conditions ----privatize social security privatize everything -- why didn't Obama fight ?

— John Cusack (@johncusack) October 4, 2012

The economy dominated the 90-minute debate with the two presidential candidates sparring over healthcare, employment and tax-cuts - with Romney denying he intended to extend Bush-era tax-cuts for the wealthy.

"I'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. That's not my plan … So you may keep referring to it as a $5 trillion tax cut, but that's not my plan," the Republican candidate said.

He did, however, claim he would cut funding for the public broadcasting television network PBS:

WTF Mitt Romney... :(

— Big Bird (@BlGBlRD) October 4, 2012

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Green

Fading Flavor: Production Of Saffron Declines Sharply

Saffron is well-known for its flavor and its expense. But in Kashmir, one of the flew places it grows, cultivation has fallen dramatically thanks for climate change, industry, and farming methods.

Photo of women harvesting saffron in Kashmir

Harvesting of Saffron in Kashmir

Mubashir Naik

In northern India along the bustling Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Pampore — known as the saffron town of Kashmir —people are busy picking up saffron flowers to fill their wicker baskets.

During the autumn season, this is a common sight in the Valley as saffron harvesting is celebrated like a festival in Kashmir. The crop is harvested once a year from October 21 to mid-November.

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