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DNC: Romney was 'rude' and 'unbearable'

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In his 12th time moderating a presidential debate, Lehrer was the subject of a wave of social media criticism for not taking a stand against the two candidate's abuse of the debate clock.

"I'm waiting for one of them to throw a spitball at the teacher ... I mean Jim Lehrer," Sherri Shepherd of ABC's "The View" tweeted, according to media reports.

But instead of calling attention to the 78-year-old's moderating skills, the DNC ad made an attempt to hit at Romney's demeanor, casting him as arrogant compared to President Obama's patient responses.

Despite different perceptions of the candidate's personalities, Romney dominated the critical first presidential debate Wednesday night, landing punch after punch on a noticeably subdued Obama.

The GOP nominee came into the evening needing to shake up the narrative of the race, and he appeared to succeed.

Throughout the 90-minute debate in Denver, the first showdown of the presidential contest, Romney aggressively questioned the president's record while defending his own economic priorities. Meanwhile, as Obama offered a safe defense of his record and policies, Romney often interrupted and seemed eager to engage.

— The Hill staff contributed to this report.