Culture

Did Mitt Romney Cheat in Wednesday’s Presidential Debate?

Culture

Did Mitt Romney Cheat in Wednesday’s Presidential Debate?

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I’m not here to discuss Wednesday’s debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, mostly because I spent half of it slumped against a wall, unable to stomach the platitudes and circular reasoning and disrespect for the debate format, and really, everything. But a video released this morning shows something more disconcerting than a million polls and think pieces about how Romney and Obama did or didn’t do: very clear, slow-motion footage of Romney taking a piece of paper out of his pocket as he approached the lectern, and placing it in front of him. It doesn’t look like a handkerchief, either, because handkerchiefs don’t stay flat when you’re holding them.

To be fair, the piece of paper might’ve said anything—if not “don’t back off on tax claims,” then definitely “FUCK POOR PEOPLE.” (As if he needed reminding.) Still, it’s worth noting the debate rules that specifically say:

No props, notes, charts, diagrams, or other writings or other tangible things may be brought into the debate by any candidate.

Meaning that, content or not, it’s a pretty clear violation on Romney’s part. But what about Romney’s persona, in the debate and otherwise, has done anything to dispel the notion that he does what he wants? Like he’s going to listen to anything Jim Lehrer, of all neutered personalities, tells him. The Romney campaign has not yet released a huffy denial, and the Obama campaign has not yet worked it into an ad. But give it time.