Jon Schwarz is editor of MichaelMoore.com and was research producer for 'Capitalism: A Love Story.' He's also contributed to the New Yorker, New York Times, Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Slate, Saturday Night Live and NPR.
One of the very first things Barack Obama said during the second presidential debate was this:
OBAMA: Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. That’s been his philosophy in the private sector, that’s been his philosophy as governor, that’s been his philosophy as a presidential candidate.
You might expect Romney would say this wasn't true. Instead, right away he showed that this is his philosophy – including during presidential debates.
The Obama/Biden and Romney/Ryan campaigns agreed to a meticulous set of rules for the debates; one of them was this:
5 (e): "The candidates may not ask each other direct questions during any of the four debates."
Here's Romney, asking Obama a direct question the first time:
ROMNEY: In the last four years, you cut permits and licenses on federal land and federal waters in half.
OBAMA: Not true, Governor Romney.
ROMNEY: So how much did you cut (inaudible)?
OBAMA: Not true.
ROMNEY: How much did you cut them by, then?
OBAMA: Governor, we have actually produced more oil --
ROMNEY: No, no. How much did you cut licenses and permits on federal land and federal waters?
OBAMA: Governor Romney, here's what we did. There were a whole bunch of oil companies.
ROMNEY: No, no, I had a question and the question was how much did you cut them by?
OBAMA: You want me to answer a question --
ROMNEY: How much did you cut them by?
And the second:
He had a Democrat House, a Democrat Senate, super majority in both Houses. Why did he fail to even promote legislation that would have provided an answer for those that want to come legally and for those that are here illegally today? What’s a question I think the — the president will have a chance to answer right now.
And the third:
ROMNEY: Mr. President, have you looked at your pension? Have you looked at your pension?
OBAMA: I’ve got to say…
ROMNEY: Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?
And the fourth:
ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?
Maybe the no-questions rule was a bad idea. But Romney certainly proved Obama was right: whatever the rules are, Romney doesn't believe people like him need to follow them.
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