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The most shocking exchange took place on the Benghazi attack that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others dead.

Mr. 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.”

Mr. Obama made no defense. “Please proceed, governor.”

“I want to make sure,” Mr. Romney said. “Get the transcript,” the president said. Then Ms. Crowley jumped in to do her own fact-check, on the spot. “It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. … He did call it an act of terror.”

The truth is, he didn’t. The day after the attack, he said only this: “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” It took another two weeks before the White House would label the attack an act of terror.

The Obama people, of course, loved it — having blamed Mr. Obama’s dismal performance in the first debate on poor moderating.

“He’s back,” said Team O spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who lauded Ms. Crowley for her fact checking.

But then she caught herself and quickly added: “He was never really gone, but he’s back.”

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at jcurl@washingtontimes.com.