Obama, Romney mostly lay off China-bashing in first debate

“ObamaCare is on my list ... I'm sorry Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS – I like PBS, I love Big Bird, I actually like you too – but I'm not going to keep spending on things (we) borrow money from China to pay for.”

China has played an important role in the campaign so far. 

Romney has repeatedly attacked Obama for being weak on China and has vowed to label America's second-biggest trading partner a currency manipulator on his first day in office if he's elected. The Obama campaign has responded by challenging China's auto-export subsidies at the World Trade Organization and attacking Romney's former firm, Bain Capital, for investing in firms that outsourced production to China.

"Mitt Romney, tough on China? Since when?” asks one Obama ad released right before Wednesday's debate.