Viewers who were worried that last night's presidential debate was going to be a polite study in retail politics and pain-feeling were relieved to see President Obama and Mitt Romney reenact that fight scene from They Live for 90 minutes. The president appeared to have scored more direct blows—pointing out that his opponent supports an immigration policy of "self-deportation," reminding voters that Romney wants to cut funding to Planned Parenthood (and didn't support fair pay legislation), and calling the Republican's tax plan essentially what every respectable economist has called it: "a sketchy deal."
Romney didn't implode, but at times came across as that dick you play Monopoly with who insists your girlfriend pay rent on Pacific Avenue for two hotels even though he just put that second hotel there during that same turn and come on we're just trying to drink beer and have fun, geez.
Several times Romney interrupted the moderator when he felt he was being slighted, at one point calling her name "Candy, Candy, Candy" (Oh!). Romney even browbeat the president for interrupting when his time to speak was up: "You'll get your chance in a moment." A pool reporter noted that this resulted in "an audible gasp" among the audience. The reporter also noted that the audience laughed (a TERRIBLE, dreadful mistake because there was no mirth in the rehearsals) when Romney insisted he had more time and Crowley replied, "It doesn't quite work like that."
It all came to a head when Romney asserted that the president refused to designate the Benghazi attack as an act of terror until 14 days afterwards, while Obama claimed that he did call it an act of terror the very next day in the Rose Garden. "Get the transcript," Obama said. "He did in fact, sir," Crowley told Romney, before acknowledging that the larger point Romney was trying to make was true. "Could you say that a little louder, Candy?" Obama said, grinning with the knowledge that a stupid technicality had sealed the debate for him and made Romney look churlish and petty.
A snap poll taken by CBS right after the debate, because we just can't wait 12 goddamn hours for these things, showed that viewers believed Obama won 37 to 30%, with 33% calling it a tie. Naturally, Republicans have already begun blaming the
binder moderator: “Candy Crowley had no business trying to fact-check in real time, because she was incorrect,” GOP mouthpiece and decorated Rich White Guy John Sununu said.
Romney, in an effort to remind women that he totally cares about them, except if they want equal pay or medical services for Planned Parenthood, has just released an ad demonstrating his courage for supporting their right to have an abortion (in cases of rape, incest or live-threatening situations).
You can read the New York Times' fact-checking of the debate here.