I would say, though, that on a few occasions, Romney used his turn to question Obama, thus ceding some time. But on the other hand, Obama interrupted Romney repeatedly. Not that Romney didn't interrupt. It seemed as though there was a continual insertion of factual disagreements. That's what they were doing and once it got started it was hard for either one stop, because it would give the other guy an advantage... except to the extent there are voters out there who recognize and credit politeness.
I wonder what would have happened, during the part of the debate about Benghazi, if Candy Crowley had not intervened. What if she'd kept her mouth shut and let the 2 men work it out amongst themselves? Here's the segment of the transcript in question (boldface added):
OBAMA: The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people in the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror and I also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime....
Checking afterwards, we learned that Obama never came out and said "this was an act of terror," though he did at one point say "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation," so there's a factual assertion here that's going to come into question, and it's subtle enough that Obama can think he'll get away with saying that, but Romney feels sure Obama is making a misstatement.
ROMNEY: Yes, I — I...Did he really not hear her, or did he want even more support from her? Whatever... she seems to have felt impelled to throw a little help to Romney, to appear more even-handed:
CROWLEY: ... quickly to this please.
ROMNEY: I — I think interesting the president just said something which — which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.
OBAMA: That's what I said.
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?
OBAMA: Please proceed governor.
ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
OBAMA: Get the transcript.
CROWLEY: It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. So let me — let me call it an act of terror...
OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
CROWLEY: He — he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take — it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.Obama calls out to Candy for a ruling on what the facts are! She should have taken that as a cue to keep quiet and let the drama play out. It would have been a chance to see how the 2 men differ in their ability to resolve interpersonal conflict.
ROMNEY: This — the administration — the administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction.
CROWLEY: It did.
ROMNEY: It took them a long time to say this was a terrorist act by a terrorist group. And to suggest — am I incorrect in that regard, on Sunday, the — your secretary —
ROMNEY: Excuse me. The ambassador of the United Nations went on the Sunday television shows and spoke about how —You're interrupting is what you're doing. He's all about breaking Romney's stride at this point, and Candy will help him.
OBAMA: Candy, I'm —
ROMNEY: — this was a spontaneous —All of these wonderful folks. Wow. Candy and Obama double-teamed Romney and shut him down. Crowley introduces the next questioner.
CROWLEY: Mr. President, let me —
OBAMA: I'm happy to have a longer conversation —
CROWLEY: I know you —
OBAMA: — about foreign policy.
CROWLEY: Absolutely. But I want to — I want to move you on and also —
OBAMA: OK. I'm happy to do that, too.
CROWLEY: — the transcripts and —
OBAMA: I just want to make sure that —
CROWLEY: — figure out what we —
OBAMA: — all of these wonderful folks are going to have a chance to get some of their questions answered.