DENVER—Pressed during Wednesday night’s presidential debate to provide details of his plan to lower taxes across the board while balancing the federal budget, a visibly flustered Mitt Romney reportedly sought to extricate himself from the situation by attempting to lay off moderator Jim Lehrer. “Well, uh, tax loopholes must be closed, and as you know, um, there are many underperforming programs, and, boy—Jim, we need to have a talk,” said the Republican nominee, who, after several moments of nervous chuckling informed the 78-year-old PBS NewsHour anchor that market conditions had forced him to “make adjustments to our outlook and staffing.” “Given our business model going forward, it no longer makes sense for this debate to continue. We appreciate all you’ve contributed, and let me assure you this in no way reflects on your personal performance. But we’re moving in a new direction and I’m afraid we’re going to have to let you go.” Romney then wished Lehrer “the best of luck,” waiting patiently behind his lectern until the baffled moderator filed out of the University of Denver’s Magness Arena.

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