Mitt Romney and Barack Obama went head-to-head on CBS's 60 Minutes on Sunday night, and despite some swift swings and tough jabs, nobody got hurt. The show didn't exactly get the two candidates to debate each other, per se. They just filmed separate interviews, asked similar questions and switched back and forth between the two so that it sort of looked like they were debating. It created an interesting effect. Unfortunately, it did not yield any $10,000 bets or reveal anyone's lack of basic knowledge about government agencies.
Neither of the candidates ventured too far from the familiar talking points we've seen them using on the campaign trail. Foreign policy was a particularly interesting subject. Romney called the president's decision not to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while he's here for the United Nations General Assembly meeting "a mistake." Obama said he has "conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time" and swatted back hard when Steve Kroft, his interview, brought up Romney's remarks about Obama being weak on Iran and Syria. "If Gov. Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so."
Then there was the obligatory visit to the topic of taxes. Romney talked up his plans to reform the tax code, dropping rates across the board by 20 percent and pushed back when Scott Pelley, his interviewer, wondered why his plan didn't include any specifics. "If you want to work together with people across the aisle, you lay out your principles and your policy, you work together with them, but you don't hand them a complete document and say, 'Here, take this or leave it.'" Romney said. Obama explained how he would convince Republicans to push his tax plan through Congress, too. "I won't get them to make them change their minds," he said. "The American people will."
And yes, you do get a glimpse into Romney and Obama's life outside of politics. After 10 p.m., both men like to read. Obama likes to hang out on the Truman balcony. Romney likes to pray. "What do you ask for?" Pelley asked. "That's between me and God," said the candidate.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.