It’s a good thing Candy Crowley wasn’t presiding over the First Amendment Lounge in the National Press Club on Tuesday night because she never would have been able to cut through all the dismissive laughing, partisan groaning and spontaneous applause that routinely swept through the crowd.
The onlookers who gathered to watch last night’s presidential debate appeared to come from all walks of life. There were techies from Northrop Grumman, communication students from local universities, working reporters from across the broadcast spectrum and political junkies who enjoy mixing things up in public.
Once the debate officially started, the room fell silent. At least until President Barack Obama laid into GOP hopeful Mitt Romney’s “one-point plan” during Crowley’s first foray into follow-up country.
That first hit sparked some polite clapping. When Obama called Romney a liar just a few minutes later, the applause grew a little bit louder, and a few belly laughs joined the chorus. Romney’s pledge to hold the capital gains rate sacred drew audible gasps from nonbelievers. Obama got booed for returning to his Big Bird-line of attack.
By the time Romney dropped his amazing “binders full of women” line, the room officially lost it.
At the end of the night, both sides rushed to claim victory, with Romney's backers touting his “genius” for holding Obama’s feet to the fire on the economy, while “44” fans gushed about their candidate being “back” after a lackluster showing at the first debate.
But with just three weeks left until Election Day and the final debate scheduled for Monday, one flustered GOP supporter was champing at the bit to finish this thing once and for all.
“Let me at that campaign. I’ll f------ get it right,” he assured HOH.