The video: Rick Santorum may have spoken too soon when he accused Fox News of shilling for Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor sat down with Fox's Megyn Kelly on Wednesday, turning in a performance that's been ridiculed as "disastrous," "hairy," "awkward," and "sputtering." (Watch a video of the worst moments below.) Facing a series of "unusually combative questions" about his health-care flip-flops, weakness among middle-class voters, and trouble connecting with conservatives, Romney appeared "defensive and irritable" as he stumbled through his answers. At one point, an exasperated Romney said, "Megyn, guess what? I made a lot of money… I'm not going to apologize for that." The Romney campaign is officially taking the high-road: Senior aide Kevin Madden characterized the sit-down as a "straightforward, fair interview."
The reaction: Now we know what it looks like "when a robot initiates a self-destruct sequence," says Cassie Murdoch at Jezebel. This is Romney at his worst: "Smug, stiff, rich." Should Romney win the GOP nomination, Obama's campaign should just play this video on a loop for the rest of the year. What's puzzling, says McKay Coppins at Buzzfeed, is that this isn't Romney's first groan-worthy interview on Fox. Why on Earth does he save his "worst performances for the network most watched by Republican voters he's trying to court"? Give Romney a break, says Emily Friedman at ABC News. He actually held his own against a tough line of questioning, appearing admirably "candid and even feisty." Judge for yourself: