"The suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the secretary of state, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, governor, is offensive," Obama responded.
"That's not what we do. That's not what I do as president. That's not what I do as commander in chief."
It was the first time in the campaign that Stoltz saw fire in Obama.
"He was forceful," Stoltz says. "He looked right at Romney and was to the point."
Stoltz voted for Obama in 2008 because he offered hope and change.
But after four years of economic gloom that left Stoltz, a flooring business owner in Reno, Nevada, without any jobs, he wants a leader. He liked that Romney brings business experience to the table, but in the end he felt Obama was the national leader he could trust.
He also liked how Obama addressed the importance of education -- even in the third debate which focused on foreign policy -- in answering a question about America's role in the world.
That was an issue high on Stoltz's list of priorities; he just started college with the help of a federal grant.
"That third debate sunk it all the way in for me -- since I am in school and Obama was focused on education," Stoltz says.
There was one other factor that helped sell Stoltz on Obama: Bill Clinton.
Stoltz, a big Clinton fan, loved that the former president was stumping for Obama. America did so well under Clinton, and if he thinks Obama's the one who will get the nation back on track, then that's worth something.
"He was just so passionate about it," Stoltz says of Clinton.
So after months of indecision, Stoltz drove up to Truckee Meadows Community College, where he enrolled this fall to get his own life back on track, and before his keyboarding class, he cast his ballot. Enthusiastically.
The Latino Voter: Watching the debates sealed the deal
For weeks, Maria Lopez Reeves had been leaning toward voting for Romney.
His family values and his convention speech nearly swayed her.
In July, the lifelong Democrat "liked" the Republican nominee's page on Facebook. In August, she told CNN she felt Obama hadn't delivered on his 2008 campaign promises. She said she was "listening very attentively" to what Romney had to say.
But she remained undecided. In September, she heard Romney say words that stuck in her mind all the way to the voting booth.
"There are 47% of the people ... who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it," Romney said.
"My job," he continued, "is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
He made the comments at a private fund-raiser in Boca Raton, Florida.
Reeves saw them spelled out in the closed captioning on her TV screen 180 miles away. In the living room of her rental house in Kissimmee, Florida, she watched a nightly newscast report on the now-infamous leaked video.
"When I saw him, behind closed doors, it was a private conversation," Reeves says. "The true him was there."
And what she saw made her cringe.
"I did not like being part of the 47%. That's an insult to so many people out there," says Reeves, who relies on government disability benefits to make ends meet. "People like me, Hispanics on disability, Social Security, retired people, military people, all kinds of people. We pay taxes on merchandise, property taxes on cars. We contribute just as much as anybody else does. We don't get that many breaks."