Tonight’s debate was a tense clash between incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. The theme of the night was obvious: Mitt Romney answered the questions. Barack Obama did not. But he was flinging his fists so wildly about that he was able distract from his failure to answer those questions.
The high point for Mitt Romney early in the debate was clearly an exchange on oil prices. Romney hit Obama with his cuts to oil drilling licenses and failure to greenlight the Keystone pipeline. Obama insisted Romney was lying – and Romney answered that the proof was high gas prices. Obama responded by oddly stating that low gas prices somehow caused the recession. Seriously.
The beatdown went back and forth in this fashion for nearly an hour. The questions moderator Candy Crowley picked were clearly biased – a question about whether women were discriminated against in the workplace, a question about whether Romney was similar to President Bush, a question about gun control.
Then came the most dramatic moment of the debate. With the time imbalance dramatically in favor of President Obama – to that point in the debate, Obama had a nearly six minute advantage in time talked – Romney was asked about President Obama’s campaign promises in 2008. And he laid out a comprehensive case against Obama’s economy. President Obama, Romney said, had made many promises. But, said Romney, “we have a record to look at.”
The next big moment came when President Obama was asked about what happened in Libya. He finally said the buck stopped with him; he said he had to greet the coffins when the came home. And then he blamed Romney for politicizing the Benghazi attacks. Romney responded by pointing out that it was the culmination of the Obama failed foreign policy; he also pointed out that Obama had not called the Benghazi attack an act of terror. Which is when Candy Crowley decided to punch her Obama campaign ticket by lying: “He did call it an act of terror.” No, he didn’t. He characterized the Benghazi attacks as a spontaneous demonstration in response to a YouTube video. That is why there is a scandal. But Crowley’s paycheck was in the mail.
In the end, the debate was a rough and tumble affair. Momentum remains with Mitt Romney; Obama was not comatose. But for the truth, it would be easy to call this debate a draw. Unfortunately for Barack Obama, the truth isn’t on his side.