The third and final Presidential debate between Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barrack Obama took place Monday at Trinity Prep in Florida. This is the same day (Oct. 22) Kennedy told the world of the Russian missiles in Cuba. Both dates are historic.
Romney, by most accounts appeared calm, pleasant, confident and knowledgeable throughout the debate. On the other hand Obama, for the most part was, fidgety, snarky, and looked like he wanted to pounce on every word Romney uttered. In contrast, he was anything but composed and presidential.
Both candidates had their strong moments and both knew their stuff. Obama aggressively started out with a barrage of personal and policy attacks upon Romney which would be hard for anyone to respond to because of their rapid fire delivery. However, despite this Obama tactic Romney picked the important ones and calmly answered them. Throughout the debate, Romney showed the leadership style of a commander-in-chief to demonstrate that making a change in the White House would be safe.
The third and final presidential debate focused largely on defense and foreign policy issues, with the two rivals painting vastly different pictures of the world: safer and tighter-knit. A pugnacious President Obama cast Mitt Romney on Monday night as a defense and foreign policy amateur, accusing him of naiveté and shifting positions that would undermine the country’s well-being at home and its security abroad. “The problem is … on a whole range of issues,” Obama said in one biting exchange, “you’ve been all over the map.”
Romney took a more temperate tone but nevertheless accused the president of repeatedly apologizing for the country abroad — something the president vigorously denied — and failing to stand up for its ideals, especially during the revolutionary “Arab Spring.”
Romney noted that although the Arab Spring brought hope, it was followed by massacres in Syria, a civil war in Libra unrest in Maui, riots in Egypt which ousted it leader, and Iran remains a threat to Israel and the United States. Avoiding a hawkish image – attempted to be painted by Obama – Romney said, we “cannot kill our way out of this mess.” Romney suggested a tough diplomatic approach with our allies.
In a slur at Obama, Romney went on, “We have to stand by our principles…, But unfortunately, nowhere in the world is America’s influence greater today than it was four years ago.”
Both candidates took a hard stand on Iran as one of the world’s greatest threats. Obama seemed to mitigate the threat at one point saying, “Strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries. That’s what Kennedy did with Krushchev, that’s what Reagan did with Gorbachev, that’s what Nixon did with Mao .I mean, think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuele – these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union.”
As put by Romney, “This is, of course, President Obama’s greatest failing, from a foreign policy standpoint, which is he recognized the gravest threat that America and the world faced as — and faced was a nuclear Iran and he did not do what was necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly. What he should have done is speak out when dissidents took to the streets and say America is with you and work on a covert basis to encourage the dissidents. Number two, he should have put — put in place crippling sanctions against Iran. … Finally, the president should have built a credible threat of military action and made it very clear that the United States of America is willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Look, one thing you can know and that is if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, if you elect me as the next president, they will not have a nuclear weapon…”
Both candidates agreed that their main job was to keep Americans safe.
A CNN/ORC International poll of people who watched the debate showed 48 percent favored Obama compared to 40 percent for Romney, numbers barely within the margin of error range of plus-or-minus 4.5 percent. Another poll by CBS scored it a clear victory for Obama.
At the same time, the CNN/ORC poll showed viewers thought Romney established credibility as a leader, which former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, a Republican strategist and CNN contributor, said was very important. The poll also reinforced a gender gap in the race, with women favoring Obama as a strong leader by 59 percent to 39 percent, while men chose Romney by 53 percent to 43 percent. Obama needs to repeat the strong support from women voters — who comprise half the electorate — that helped him win in 2008.
The third and final face-to-face showdown occurred with the candidates running even in national polls and the race hinging on a handful of battleground states — particularly Ohio, Florida and Virginia.
According to the latest polls, Obama has a slight lead in Ohio. Romney is ahead in Florida, and Virginia is a dead heat.
By D. Lindley Young