Final Debate Offers Last Licks for Romney, Obama

In the last debate before the Nov. 6 election, candidates Romney and Obama argued the 900-pound gorilla of the election, foreign policy. Will the winner carry his momentum to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?


They both know what they are talking about, don't they? 

President Obama killed it when speaking about Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden. Governor Romney mastered China and the economy. Astonishingly, very little was said about the recent Libyan disaster and the sad, dangerous situation in Syria. Yet perhaps even more astonishingly, there were several times when Romney and Obama appeared to —gasp! — agree. 

Nevertheless, there were two sharp areas of contrast. The first? The economy, which both candidates continued to debate vigorously even though the evening's topic was officially foreign policy. 

The second? The appearance of presidentiality. 

As an observer, I found it very curious that Romney did not hammer home the popular conservative talking points of the Libyan and Syrian disasters, both huge weaknesses for the current administration. Instead, in a thought-provoking twist, Romney chose to agree with Obama's strategies, again and again.

Even more interesting was the Romney strategy of not just embracing, but actively promoting, world peace. In this way, Romney effectively defused Obama's central effort to paint Romney as a reckless and dangerous warmongering flip-flopper who is unfit to lead the nation.

Like the last debate, Obama was well spoken and argued his points effectively. But instead of defining a clear plan for the future of the nation, he instead chose to go on the attack, defaulting to petty, condescending remarks ("We have these things called aircraft carriers!") and, as in the first debate, appeared nearly angry.

And, by the way, the military does still use bayonets. Sorry, Mr. President.

Clearly, President Obama was well prepared to answer each of moderator's Bob Schieffer's questions; he was smooth and knowledgeable. But as I watched Governor Romney take the broad view, I observed President Obama delving deeply into little-known details, apparently to demonstrate his foreign policy prowess.

But the result was that Obama appeared more like a mid-level policy wonk than a top level world leader. Obama's decision to use his time to attack Romney's positions instead of define his own policy for the next four years will hurt him; how many times do we need to hear Obama accuse Romney of wanting to cut taxes for wealthy "folks", even though Romney has denied it, convincingly, countless times?

Obama spoke and acted more like a desperate challenger —I attempted to measure the number of interruptions, but lost count after the first segment— rather than the man who has led the greatest nation in the world for the past nearly-four years. So while he may have earned audience giggles for some well-timed comments, in the end, I don't believe he added anything new to the national conversation.

For a victory, all Romney had to do was demonstrate knowledge of the most salient foreign policy topics of the day and appear presidential. He didn't have to trounce Obama like he did in the first debate; he only had to perform well enough to assure the American people that he is qualified to be the nation's top diplomat.

In this respect, Romney is the clear winner. He was by far more presidential. He clearly demonstrated his preference for staying above the muck of nasty allegations, as all presidents should. That's because he is a big picture thinker, as all leaders are. Best of all, he rejected the stereotypical warmonger's posture by promoting peace and prosperity for all, and with it the halfhearted attempt by Obama to paint him as George W. Bush redux.

But my favorite part was the final statement, when Romney stated his ability to reach across the aisle to work with "good Democrats and good Republicans" to craft policy initiatives that will move 100 percent of the world toward peace and prosperity.

And that's the kind of hope and change this voter believes in.

DPD October 28, 2012 at 01:47 AM
BF - HOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA DOWN GIRL ! BF - " Don't post this either because you don't have the balls!" This is a G rated family board with rules of conduct. You're not at some tea party hate board. Clean it up or get out! ps: did you catch this great video from a republican US Army war hero, colonel?
G October 28, 2012 at 03:07 AM
To the Editor: Please post Big Family's posts immediately; I mean as soon as she/he hits the submit key. His/her posts are extremely important to all of us, and tell us how we should think and how we should vote. Big Family does not have a lot of time to wait to see Big Family's post online. He/she is a very important person and Big Family should not have to wait for "approval" like everyone else. And to everyone else who posts here (other than Big Family), please be considerate and realize that Big Family's post are pretty important for all of us! Thank you all.
MAC October 28, 2012 at 06:47 AM
Obama is the consummate opportunist. He had influential people paving his way every step since getting into the elite Punahou school in Honolulu. His grades obviously didn't get him into Occidental, Columbia or Harvard Law, since he freely admits to skipping classes in high school, using drugs and drinking as a teen, and keeps all his papers, transcripts etc. a huge SECRET! Being a "community organizer" is obviously the worst 'preparation' for being POTUS! Most Americans voting for "the One" in 2008 did so for guilt, racial or other "identity politics" or emotional reasons--falling for the "Hope and Change" balderdash and being totally scammed by the deceptive rhetoric. It is not only in the presidential voting, but sadly, probably half the voters (or more) are quite uninformed on the candidates and their positions on the issues and economic matters. They vote as if they are voting for "American Idol"! Thus we are stuck with incompetent 'career politicians'! Romney is a stellar successful executive, and has already proved himself to be more presidential than Obama in the debates. Obama has also proven himself to be totally a failure on the Economy and a disaster in foreign relations--especially for Israel, and for those like Amb. Chris Stevens whom he callously SACRIFICED along with 3 other Americans!! Romney is going to put an end to Obama's political career on Nov. 6th!
Big Family October 28, 2012 at 10:24 AM
G, Thanks so much for explaining my position.
Barbara R November 16, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Because of the economic collapse in late 2008 from GW Bush policies. Gas prices in June 2008 were over $4.00 a gallon.


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