The reaction is pouring in, and the consensus is that Mitt Romney lost the second presidential debate. There was one moment, specifically 96 seconds that lost the debate for Mitt Romney.
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Mitt Romney had a bad debate performance, but his night absolutely went up in flames when he thought he had Obama pinned down on his remarks the day after Libya only to see it all go up in flames. Candy Crowley’s real time fact check will go down in history as a watershed presidential debate moment. One of the unintended consequences of Romney’s lie to win strategy is that a premium has been placed on fact checking.
When Romney was proven wrong in front of millions of Americans, you could see his balloon pop. His confidence was gone, and at that moment, Mitt Romney’s frail confidence was shot. (Anyone who has watched Romney’s debate performances knows that he is streaky. He runs hot and cold. In the Republican primary debates where he got off to a bad start, the night often got worse. Romney is not good at coming from behind.)
It was ironic that Libya came back to bite Romney. The Republican nominee is a foreign policy nightmare, and his absolute cluelessness in international affairs haunted him again in this debate. The Libya exchange was a moment that America got to see the real Romney.
Mitt Romney will do and say anything to win.
Mitt Romney is a creature who is trapped in the right wing media bubble, and many of his attacks on Obama, including the claim that the president apologizes for America, are charges that were birthed via the right wing media. The Libya moment revealed the consequences of the conservative decision to create and live in their own reality. During the debate Romney got confused and thought he was debating the imaginary left wing socialist who apologizes for America created by the right wing.
When President Obama injected reality and Candy Crowley backed him up, Romney not only lost a debate. In those 96 seconds, he might have lost the election.