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 throughout the 90-minute encounter between the two rivals at the University of Denver.

The two men, standing side-by-side for the first time after months of brutal campaign attacks hurled at each other, clashed over taxes, healthcare and the role of government, reflecting the deep ideological divide in Washington.

Appearing poised and well-prepared, 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.

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