First Read's assessment of last night's personal dynamics is spot on:
They really, really don’t like each other: In fact, almost all of the exchanges drove this point home: These candidates really don’t like each other. The two men constantly interrupted each other; they circled each other like prizefighters in the boxing ring; and they also even got into each other’s faces.
But only one candidate took a chunk out of his opponent's ear. That candidate was, of course, President Obama, and the bite came in his characterization of Mitt Romney's politicization of the Benghazi affair as "offensive."
As I mentioned contemporaneously, I was on the edge of my chair, "hoping, praying" that Obama would unleash the "offensive" assault against Romney as the latter droned on in his vintage unscrupulousness. Then, boom, it came--and to me (and I assume a few million others) it marked in an oddly precise kind of universal way the campaign's most keenly defining moment: It wasn't just that Romney's remarks were offensive. It was that Mitt Romney is offensive.
In a word, that's Mitt. Offensiveness oozes out of the guy--perhaps gushing one minute and merely dripping the next, but it's always there. Whether he's exploiting a human tragedy or demagoguing on jobs or dissembling on women's issues, Mitt Romney is a consistently, immutably, severely offensive man.
Obama simply slapped the word on him. And it's going to stick.