Foreign Policy Debate

10.03.12

WATCH VIDEO: Best Moments From the First Presidential Debate

President Obama and Mitt Romney duked it out on the economy, Obamacare, and Big Bird in the first presidential debate Wednesday night—and pundits are handing the victory to Romney. Watch the night's 7 most memorable moments.

Happy Anniversary, ‘Sweetie’! 

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President Obama kicked off the debate with a shoutout to his wife, Michelle. “Twenty years ago,” he said, “I became the luckiest man on earth because Michelle Obama agreed to marry me.” Romney must have been anticipating the sentimental gesture, though, because it prompted his first zinger of the night. “Congratulations,” the GOP candidate said. “I’m sure this is the most romantic place you could imagine—here with me!”

Romney's Dad Moment

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Swinging back at Obama’s claim that he’ll cut taxes for “high-income individuals,” Romney took a moment to remind Americans that he’s a family man. “Look, I got five boys,” he said, “I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true and just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it.” Boom.

Obama: Romney’s Big Idea Is ‘Nevermind’

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At 9:18 p.m., Obama unleashed his first prepared zinger of the night. Speaking about Romney’s apparent backtrack on his economic policy, the president said: “For 18 months, he’s been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election, he’s saying that his big bold idea is “nevermind.’”

Donald Trump Sneaks Back Into the Race

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Thought you had escaped The Donald’s political career? Think again. While debating small-business tax cuts, Obama brought back the leader of the orange party by picking apart Romney’s definition of small businesses. “Under governor Romney’s definition,” the president said, “there are a whole bunch of millionaires and billionaires who are small businesses.” He continued: “Donald Trump is a small business—and I know Donald Trump doesn’t like to think of himself as small anything.” (Fact check: this is mostly true. Romney defines small businesses by the number of people it employs. Any company with less than 500 workers is “small,” so some of Trumps companies count as small businesses.)

Look Out, Big Bird!

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We all know Romney likes firing people, but is he willing to spare Muppets? In tonight's debate, the GOP candidate told moderator and PBS host Jim Lehrer that he wants to slash the federal government's subsidy to the public broadcasting system—but assured: “I love Big Bird! I actually like you, too!”

Social Security Is 'Structurally Sound'?

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Quite the alliteration from Obama, especially since the Congressional Budget Office says that "resources available to the Social Security program will become insufficient to pay full benefits in about 20 years." The president did say, however, that the program needs to be "tweaked."

Obamacare vs. Romneycare

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When Romneycare inevitably came up, the GOP candidate cleverly focused on his bipartisan approach to passing the bill—as opposed to the bill’s similarities to Obamacare. In an 87 percent Democrat legislature, Romney said, “only two [legislators out of 200] voted against the plan by the time we were finished.” Obamacare, by contrast, passed with no Republican votes. “I like the way we did it in Massachusetts,” Romney said.