Romney Wins Final Debate on Substance and Truth Obama Rehearsed Rhetoric, Attacks More Lies

Oct 22, 2012


Romney Wins Final Debate

Romney Wins Final Debate Against Condescending, Interrupting Snide Obama

President Obama and Mitt Romney painted a bleak portrait of each other’s leadership on the world stage Monday night, using their final debate before a feverish two-week blitz of campaigning to tout their commander-in-chief credentials.

To hear Romney tell it, the president has presided over a steady decline in American influence that has emboldened enemies like Iran. To hear Obama, the Republican nominee would confuse the rest of the world with a foreign policy that is “all over the map.”

The two met for a debate focused on foreign policy, though it often veered to domestic issues like the economy and taxes. In contrast to the last debate where Obama and Romney paced and circled each other throughout, the rivals were seated next to one another onstage in Boca Raton, Fla. It made for a less confrontational setting, but the tone was no less tense.

Obama accused Romney of pushing a foreign policy that’s either flat-out “wrong” or some version of what the president himself has already done, only “louder.” Romney accused the president of projecting “weakness” on the world stage, whether through his so-called “apology tour” overseas or his policy on Iran.

Romney ripped President Obama’s foreign policy at the start of Monday night’s debate, claiming the president’s strategy has not quelled the Al Qaeda threat.

“It’s certainly not on the run. It’s certainly not hiding,” Romney said. “This is a group that is now involved in 10 or 12 countries.”

Romney commended Obama for ordering the raid that killed Usama bin Laden and other strikes on Al Qaeda leaders, but he said “we can’t kill our way out of this mess.” He said Al Qaeda remains an “enormous threat,” despite Obama’s claims that the terror group is on the path to defeat.

Obama, though, countered that “Al Qaeda’s core leadership has been decimated.” And he sought to portray Romney as someone who would be an unsteady leader on the world stage. He accused Romney of having a strategy that is “all over the map.”

Obama was tough on Romney from the outset, accusing him of having poor judgment and antiquated views on foreign affairs.

“I’m glad that you recognize that Al Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not Al Qaeda,” Obama said. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”

Obama went on to say that, on foreign policy, “every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong.”

Romney fired back, “attacking me is not an agenda.” He accused Obama of looking at countries like Russia through “rose-colored glasses.”

The 90-minute debate offered perhaps the last chance for either candidate to shake up the race in any significant way, with two weeks to go until Election Day. The face-off at Lynn University was moderated by Bob Schieffer.

The presidential debates this month have been among the most consequential in modern campaign history. Romney entered the debates as the slight underdog in most polls, but since his opening performance has surged to pull even with or ahead of the president.

The theme of Monday’s forum was foreign policy – subject matter that typically favors an incumbent commander in chief. But while Obama practically has turned the 2011 takedown of bin Laden into a motto for his campaign, Romney has sought to expose weaknesses in other areas of the president’s foreign policy.

On the afternoon on Monday’s debate, the Romney campaign released a Web video titled “Healed?” It argued that despite Obama’s 2008 pitch to “heal” the planet, the world remains full of unrest and violence, particularly in the Middle East.

The Obama campaign, for its part, released a series of short videos attempting to portray Romney as unprepared to serve as commander in chief. The campaign also released a TV ad that focuses more on Obama’s foreign policy achievements, with the narrator saying the president ended the war in Iraq and has brought back 30,000 U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan, which the video says Romney called Obama’s “biggest mistake.”

The debate Monday offered the usual mix of opportunity and peril for the candidates. And the race is tight enough that any movement of the needle out of Monday night’s debate could make the difference.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on Sunday showed the president and Romney tied at 47 percent nationally. In the vital swing state of Ohio, a Suffolk University survey released Monday also showed the two tied at 47 percent. Other recent polls have given Obama a slight edge.

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