The video: While political junkies were scoring Wednesday's debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney for everything from policy knockouts to body language, Tom Kludt at Talking Points Memo mined the videotape for the night's best "zingers" (see the video below). Treating the exchange of pointed one-liners like a brawl between Batman and a villain like the Penguin, the clip reel starts out with a jab from Romney:
As a father of five boys he's "used to people saying something that's not always true but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I'll believe it." KAPOW!
Then over to Obama:
He says that Romney, who promised to work with Democrats from day one if elected, will "have a busy first day because he's also going to repeal ObamaCare, which is not going to be very popular among Democrats as you're sitting down with them." BAM!
The bout continues with Romney saying that Obama, with his green-energy stimulus spending, didn't "just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers." Then Obama, responding to Romney's insistence that his tax plan won't reduce tax revenue or increase the deficit, says Romney is abandoning the tax plan he's touted for 18 months and "saying that his big bold idea is, 'never mind.'" People are still talking about one of the most memorable zingers of all time — when Democrat Lloyd Bentsen told Dan Quayle in a 1988 vice presidential debate that he was "no Jack Kennedy." Did Obama or Romney come close to such a brutal take-down?
The reaction: According to the pre-debate hype, Romney was going to level Obama with a flurry of scorching one-liners, says Michael McGough at The Los Angeles Times. Well, "the much-anticipated 'zingers' were pretty lame. Romney has five sons, so he's used to dealing with liars; Obama is entitled to his own airplane but not to his own facts"? Talk about duds. Hey, Obama hardly reduced Romney to cinders, either, say Laura Meckler and Colleen McCain Nelson at The Wall Street Journal. One of his best shots came when he wondered aloud whether Romney is hiding details of his policy plans because they're "too good." This debate was heavy on "wonkery" and light on rapier wit. Maybe, but the candidates did manage to chalk up some memorable licks, says Newsday. Romney's line about how Obama, as president, is entitled to a house but not his "own facts" conveyed his message that the Obama camp is misrepresenting his policies. Obama's "never mind" quip got across the idea that Romney's tax plan doesn't add up, so he's watered it down so much it's meaningless. With a "generous accounting" of all the night's zingers, Romney came out ahead, but just barely. "Final score: Mitt Romney 5, Barack Obama 3."
Watch the zinger clip reel for yourself:
Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.