Michael Moore points out that Romney proved last night that he plays by different rules. Here's the president making the claim:
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. You might expect Romney would say this wasn't true. Instead, right away he showed that this is his philosophy – including during presidential debates.
They had agreed that the candidates would not ask each other questions directly. Romney broke that rule almost immediately and then got in the president's face demanding that he answer his answer. (At one point I thought he was going to start pounding on his stool and screaming "I want to know, I want to know!" like an ex of mine used to do.)
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?
At that point I was fantasizing that Obama would grab his crotch and say, "I gotcher ansahs forya right heah, scumbag." (It was Lorng Eyeland, after all.)
But there is a bigger point than Romney just being a jerk. As Moore pithily observes:
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.
Mitt must have been a real pip to work for, that's all I can say. Certainly the tales of his bullying as a young man and a father, indicate that he's a real jackass. Like this, for instance:
The Republican presidential candidate dispatched his five adult sons onto a late night television show where they jokingly told stories of their father's pranks in an effort to humanise the former businessman who critics accuse of being boring.
But the light-hearted anecdotes carried an uncomfortable echo of earlier allegations that Mr Romney had been a bully while at prep school and has a long history of uncaring behaviour.
Matt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor's second son, told how his father would present his children with a stick of butter, telling them "it's so rotten you have to smell it". When they leaned down he would gleefully shove their faces into the plate.
Mr Romney apparently repeated the trick recently with one of his grandsons, pushing the shocked child's head into a platter of whipped cream.
During the rare joint appearance by all five sons on Conan O'Brien's talk show, Josh Romney told how he once ambushed his father in a darkened basement as Mr Romney groped for the light switch.
The startled private equity boss responded by tackling him to the ground and wrestling him on the floor.
"He does like pranks but he doesn't like to get pranked. We've learned that the hard way," Josh said.