In a brisk, fiery debate Obama and Romney sparred for 90 minutes. Obama was much more animated in this debate and this may have been one of his best performances on the national stage. This debate was filled with softball questions that went right to Obama’s wheelhouse.
The immediate responses were mixed. A CBS flash poll had Obama winning 37% to Romney’s 30%. CNBC’s online poll immediately after the debate had Obama winning 56% to Romney’s 39%. CNN’s David Gergen said, “The night goes to Obama.” Fox’ Charles Krauthammer said, “Obama clearly had a good night. Obama won on points.” Conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham tweeted her agreement with the conservative Krauthammer. The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan, one of Obama’s loudest critics of the first debate, tweeted, “Game, set, match, Obama.”
Both Romney and Obama broke the rules and repeatedly, and addressed each other directly. Romney repeatedly attempted to challenge moderator Candy Crowley’s control over the debate, but Crowley held her own once even shooing Romney back to his seat.
The debate covered topics heretofore not brought up in the prior two debates, including immigration, gun control, pay equity and gas prices. The signature moment of the debate was when Crowley “fact-checked’ Romney in real time on the events that occurred immediately after the Benghazi event. Romney accused Obama of not declaring the embassy attack an act of terror. When Obama challenged him to “get the transcript,” Crowley, who is known as “the Cliff Notes for Reporters” because of her attention to detail, fact-checked Romney on the spot.
ROMNEY: I — I think interesting the president just said something which — which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.
OBAMA: That's what I said.
ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror.
It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you're saying?
OBAMA: Please proceed governor.
ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
OBAMA: Get the transcript.
CROWLEY: It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. So let me — let me call it an act of terror...
OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
CROWLEY: He — he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take — it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.
For a play-by-play of how it all went down, check out my live blog.