Election 2014  
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9 Best Blows Landed by Obama in Presidential Debate

The president punctured Romney’s armor of jovial smugness through a combination of rehearsed rejoinders, on-the-spot quips and deft deflections of Romney’s attacks.

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Romney suddenly looked small -- and incredulous, as if he just couldn’t believe that Obama had really made those remarks in the Rose Garden. So he refused to accept them.

From the debate transcript (with edits in brackets):

ROMNEY: I -- I think [it] 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 wasn’t taking the bait. “Please proceed, Governor,” he said calmly. Translation: If you wish to place a rope around your own neck, who am I to stop you?

Romney continued: “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.”

“Get the transcript,” Obama interjected.

Moderator Candy Crowley of CNN couldn’t help herself, apparently having been present when the president made his Rose Garden remarks. “[H]e did in fact, sir...call it an act of terror.”

“Can you say that a little louder, Candy?” Obama gamely asked.

Crowley repeated her confirmation, adding a qualifying statement that it did indeed take two weeks before the administration publicly dispensed with the notion that the attack stemmed from a riot related to the video (not that the two -- a terrorist attack and the work of an angry mob -- were necessarily mutually exclusive).

But the damage was done, and when Romney continued to pursue the matter, Obama simply asked, “Candy?”, and the moderator moved to the next question.

From that point on, Romney never quite regained his footing.

2. “What Governor Romney said just isn't true.” Sometimes a simple statement says so much. In a rejoinder to Romney’s response to the opening question of the debate, posed by Jeremy Epstein, a college student concerned about his job prospects, Obama uttered the words that, during the last debate, his supporters longed for in vain as Romney served up a plate of misleading claims. Last night was different.

Romney took issue with Obama’s claim that the governor had urged that the Detroit automakers be allowed to go bankrupt. “Well, the president took Detroit bankrupt,” Romney said. “You took General Motors bankrupt. You took Chrysler bankrupt. So when you say that I wanted to take the auto industry bankrupt, you actually did.”

Romney went on to say that the president, in signing the auto industry loan bailout, did “precisely what I recommended.” As recounted in the transcript, Obama responded:

Candy, what Governor Romney said just isn't true. He wanted to take them into bankruptcy without providing them any way to stay open. And we would have lost a million jobs. And that -- don't take my word for it, take the executives' at GM and Chrysler, some of whom are Republicans, may even support Governor Romney. But they'll tell you his prescription wasn't going to work.

3. The “one-point plan.” During the exchange about jobs and the auto bailout, Romney referenced his jobs plan. From the transcript:

We have not made the progress we need to make to put people back to work. That's why I put out a five-point plan that gets America 12 million new jobs in four years and rising take-home pay. It's going to help Jeremy get a job when he comes out of school. It's going to help people across the country that are unemployed right now.

 
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