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master debaters

John Heilemann on Morning Joe: Obama and Romney Were ‘a Step Away From Blows’ Last Night

On today's Morning Joe, New York's John Heilemann described last night's presidential debate like a WWE cage match — it was “physical,” “raw,” and “visceral.” One early disagreement on oil provoked both candidates to rise from their barstools, Heilemann felt “it almost looked like they were going to come to blows.” The more open town-hall format enabled this physicality, but Obama's confrontational strategy ratcheted up the tension. While Heilemann expected Romney to balk at questions from voters as opposed to moderators, Obama's pointed rhetorical strategy made him visibly flustered. When Romney is challenged directly, Heilemann added, “He tends to get a little rattled.” The takeaway? “These guys really, really hate each other.”

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