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Monday, October 22, 2012

The Third and Final Presidential Debate

"Romney went large and Obama went very small. Shockingly small." That is what conservative pundit and writer Charles Krauthammer said of the third and final debate of the presidential campaign. This one was on foreign policy.  All Mitt Romney had to do was to show the voter that he is capable of being commander in chief and that he knows the world's terrain. He did just that.

By the end of the debate one remark in particular was troubling for Team Obama in the spin room : the attack dog, David Plouffe, had to back track on Obama's claim that he didn't insist on military cuts in the sequestration order that the president signed off on, when his lack of presidential leadership made the sequestration order necessary during fiscal policy talks as a major governmental shutdown loomed large in the background.

The Commander-in-Chief mocked Mitt Romney on military might. He claimed our military is beyond using horses and bayonets. The Marines, however, beg to disagree, Mr. President.  Oops.

The snarky Barack Obama showed up to the debate and did his candidacy no favors.  Obama looked like a bully though most of the debate.  He and Mitt Romney both did ok on foreign policy answers but the demeanor of the two could not have been in sharper contrast. Romney kept his calm composure and allowed Obama to look bad.  Romney is a happy warrior and Obama has never been one.

This is a good summary on the discussion about the U.S. - Israel alliance:

  • Israel came up half-way through at 9:45.
  • Schieffer asked: "Would either of you declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on the U.S. which is a pledge we've made to other allies."
  • This debate, remember, is in Florida with a huge Jewish population.
  • Obama answered first and didn't agree, but said "We will stand with Israel" even when Schieffer pushed him on it.
  • I'm not sure what the difference is, but Obama does and that Obama didn't agree will not be lost on those in America who want to protect Israel against an Iranian attack.
  • Romney said "If Israel is attacked we have their back; not just diplomatically … but militarily" which was a much stronger answer. We'll see over the next few days what effect that has on the polls in the state of Florida.
  • Romney scored by reciting a litany of places in the Middle East that Obama had visited early in his Presidency while skipping Israel. He quoted Obama as saying that America would no longer dictate to other nations. Romney said, "We have not dictated to other nations, we have freed other nations from dictators."

  • The foreign policy debate turned many times to economic matters, which played to Romney's strength. It is impossible, of course, to have a strong military and remain the hope of the world if our economy is diminished.  Obama has four years of supporting failing economic policy and Romney capitalized on those points.

    Both men proved that they are able to assume the role of Commander-in-Chief. Only Romney, however, won the debate.
     

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