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Oops: Michelle Obama Spotted Breaking Debate Rules By Joining in Audience Applause During Heated Exchange

US First Lady Michelle Obama applauds prior to the start of the second presidential debate with US President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on October 16, 2012 in Mack Arena at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

One of the most talked-about and debated moments from Tuesday night's presidential debate is when Mitt Romney was calling out Barack Obama for blaming the Libya attack on a YouTube video and moderator Candy Crowley stepped in to defend the president (she later admitted Romney was right). When that happened, the audience broke the debate rules and clapped. And video has surfaced today showing one of those clapping was Michelle Obama.

The cameras at Fox News captured the moment. In the video, a wide shot captures the act from the top (she's in the pink dress on the right):

While the first lady's face isn't shown, still photos from the night confirm it was Michelle Obama sitting in that seat:

HEMPSTEAD, NY - OCTOBER 16: U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama (Top-L) listens as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a town hall style debate at Hofstra University October 16, 2012 in Hempstead, New York. During the second of three presidential debates, the candidates fielded questions from audience members on a wide variety of issues. Credit: Getty Images

RealClearPolitcs details the rule:

According to the rules both campaigns agreed to, or the memorandum of understanding (MOA), there is to be no clapping from members of the debate audience.

The rule: Article 9, Section A, Subsection 7: "All members of the debate audience will be instructed by the moderator before the debate goes on the air and by the moderator after the debate goes on the air not to applaud, speak, or otherwise participate in the debate by any means other than by silent observation, except as provided by the agreed upon rules of the October 16 town hall debate."

To be fair, it sounds as if a good chunk of the audience applauded, so it's possible she got caught up in the moment. Still, others will point out that rules are rules.

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