Math is hard (42:50 - 38:32 = 4:18, not “over 5 minutes!”).
I do agree, though, that as a moderator, Jim Lehrer really sucked. He couldn’t shut up either candidate when their time was up (resulting in one segment of the debate not happening at all because the hour-and-a-half time limit was rigid).
He also didn’t ask a single question about social issues (same-sex marriage, Roe v Wade, de-funding Planned Parenthood) where there are very stark difference between the candidates. When Mitt Romney started talking about liberty, it seemed like a perfect time for Obama to point out that Mitt wanted to take away liberties if he’s elected.
Maybe that’s the section of the debate that was eliminated because neither candidate could stop making the same points over and over again long enough for Lehrer to move the debate along.
Hopefully those topics will be covered in the October 16th “Town Hall” debate, where questions will come from people who describe themselves as “undecided voters,” because the final debate on October 22nd is dedicated to foreign policy. Tonight was the domestic policy night, but really only focused on the economy and health care.
Also, hopefully Obama won’t spend the next debate looking down at his podium while Mitt talks. That looked bad.