The room set aside for reporters to watch Tuesday night’s debate erupted into applause after President Obama ridiculed the size of Mitt Romney’s personal wealth.

Mr. Romney was trying to make the point that both his and Mr. Obama’s investment funds probably include investments in China — something the president has attacked Mr. Romney for.

“Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?” Mr. Romney said.

“You know, I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours, so it — it doesn’t take as long,” Mr. Obama retorted. His reply prompted laughter in the debate hall where the two men were squaring off — but across the way in the separate room where the press was stationed, a brief round of applause broke out.

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