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Debate highlights: From Big Bird to body language

U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney discuss a point during Wednesday’s debate.

JIM URQUHART/REUTERS

MEMORABLE BODY-LANGUAGE EXCHANGE BETWEEN THE TWO CANDIDATES

Romney: "I don't have a tax cut."

Obama: [looks down, and smirks]

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Obama: "We do best when the middle class does well."

Romney: [looks up, and smirks]

Romney: "Virtually everything he has just said about my tax cut is inaccurate."

PROMISES, PROMISES

Romney: "Obamacare – I'd get rid of that. I like PBS. I like Big Bird. I like you too, Jim [Jim Lehrer of PBS, the moderator] but I'm going to get rid of that."

BEST-PREPARED ZINGER

Obama: "When I came into office, we had … two wars that were paid for by a credit card."

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Romney: "Try and get a mortgage these days!"

OF INTEREST TO CANADA

Romney: "I'll bring that pipeline in from Canada."

FAILED ATTEMPT AT LIKEABILITY

Romney: [Recognizing that Wednesday was Mr. Obama's 20th wedding anniversary] "I'm sure this is the most romantic place you could imagine, here with me."

FIRST FUNNY LINE

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Obama: "Under Governor Romney's plan, Donald Trump is a small businessman. And I know Donald Trump doesn't like to think of himself as a small anything."

MOST INVOKED FIGURE (OR INTEREST GROUP)

"The middle class," "middle-class families," struggling women, small business owners

HARDEST SELL

Romney: "I'm not in favour of a $5-billion tax cut. That's not my plan. … My plan is nothing that's been tried before."

HEALTH-CARE ZINGERS

Romney: "The cost of health care is just prohibitive [and] Obamacare … is adding to cost. … It's expensive. … It has killed jobs."

Obama: When I ran four years ago, I met families scared of going broke if they got sick. "It doesn't say you can't have your own doctor. It does say [insurance companies] can't jerk you around."

Romney: "The Republicans put a plan out … and we have to have a president who can reach across the aisle."

Obama: "Governor Romney wrote and said, 'what we did in Massachusetts can be a model for the nation.' … The fact of the matter is, we used the same advisers."

MUSCLING ASIDE THE MODERATOR

Obama: [As Mr. Lehrer attempts to cut him off] "I had five seconds before you interrupted me."

Romney: [As Mr. Lehrer attempts to cut him off] "No, I have to respond to that."

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Affan Chowdhry is the Globe's multimedia reporter specializing in foreign news. Prior to joining the Globe, he worked at the BBC World Service in London creating international news and current affairs programs and online content for a global audience. More

Political Feature Writer

Adam Radwanski is The Globe and Mail's political feature writer. More

International-Affairs Columnist

Doug Saunders writes the Globe and Mail's international-affairs column. He has been a writer with the Globe since 1995, and has extensive experience as a foreign correspondent, having run the Globe's foreign bureaus in Los Angeles and London.He was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and educated in Toronto. More

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