By Samuel P. Jacobs
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mitt Romney's campaign laughed off suggestions on Friday that the presidential candidate had used a cheat sheet during his debate with President Barack Obama, saying the object in question was a handkerchief to battle sweat.
As he walked to the podium Wednesday night, Romney was seen reaching into his right pocket and removing a white object, which he placed on the podium.
Video clips of the moment were posted online on Thursday by people who suggested the object was a crib sheet. Candidates are typically not allowed to bring notes on stage with them.
Later during the debate, Romney was seen wiping his brow with what appeared to be a white handkerchief.
The object was, in fact, a handkerchief, and the sweat-fighter was allowed under debate rules, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.
A spokesman for the Commission on Presidential Debates, the non-partisan organization that has managed debates since 1988, did not immediately return a request for comment.
While the debate agreement for 2012 is not public, the contract from 2004 outlawed any "tangible objects" from being brought on stage by the candidates. The agreement called for the moderator to interrupt any candidate who used any object such as a chart or diagram.
This is not the first time partisans have accused a candidate of shenanigans in a presidential debate.
In 2004, photographs of an apparent bulge in the back of George W. Bush's suit coat led some to question whether Bush was connected to some kind of receiver.
(Editing by Jim Loney)