msnbc | October 16, 2012
>> democrats will be thrilled tonight with the turnaround in the president's performance, i think both substantively and stylistically. mr. romney taking the same stylistic approach hitting many of the same points in sometimes the exact same language, but tonight mitt romney was up against a different man. i would say the combination of one major embarrassing and heavily underscored factual error at the apex of the debate by mr. romney , one called not only by the president but by the moderator, that fact and i think this was probably the best debate as barack obama 's career as a politician, means the outcome tonight, even with a sturdy performance by mitt romney , the outcome tonight is, in my opinion, a u-turn from what we saw two weeks ago. chris matthews is at the debate. what's your reaction?
>> i've been scoring it. i agree with you. and what i've got is, they really covered, rachel, i think about ten topics, very well moderated by candy crowley by cnn. he's the kind of guy that won't turn off his phone on the airplane because you have to wait for him to take off. i think the economy, he won on the following six. the president won on the economy right up front. he won on taxes, on lily ledbetter, with that african- american guy . he won clearly on immigration and he clearly won with a question at the end where he took the foolish decision, and of course on benghazi and obama punched him hard. he was caught on top tape, he was caught by the president. he tagged him good at the very end. i think despite romney 's efforts to push the clock, tried to push candy crowley , obama got the last punch in and i think it was desizive. i would say on the ten topics, six clear victories, one tie, three for obama and i'm being jen rusz.
>> three for romney you mean?
>> yeah. i'm giving him three. no, one for romney , three that were unclear who won. so i have 6-1-3 on the topics.
>> let me ask you specifically on benghazi , i mentioned that there was that huge factual fumble by mr. romney thinking he had caught president obama that he didn't use the phrase active terror. he did in fact use that exact phrase and he knew it and candy crowley knew it. i think a lot of people expected mitt romney to score real points on this issue of the benghazi attack. the campaign was saying for a week now that that was what they were planning on going after president obama on. how do you think that that played out?
>> well, the president could have done better because the latest reporting as you all know there, by the "new york times" which has been really good on this points out that even in the beginning it was pretty clear that in addition to the organized terrorist attack on the benghazi consulate there was in fact a protest operation going there. people protesting the whole issue of that video coming out of los angeles . that was true, too. the two things were going at the same time. that's the current reporting of the times. that's the confirmation on the earlier reporting. so the president wasn't quite up to date on that which surprised me. but boy did candy crowley deserve credit. noel acts of terrorism will ever shake the result. very first lines of the president of the rose garden . so even though she caught him, tagged him, made the out at third base, i have to say that the president could have used more information. he has a very good case. it's still a combination of terrorism organized by al qaeda north africa , but it's locally based operating perhaps on the basis of that video as well as the anniversary of 9/11. we have yet to get to the bottom of this and the president is being honest and fair