The final presidential debate between incumbent President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney took place on Monday, October 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. The debate topic was foreign affairs, an area that gave Obama an advantage with his arsenal of top secret knowledge that only Presidents are privy to view.
Obama controlled the debate in a similar way that Romney controlled the first debate. He loaded his verbal weaponry and attacked Romney with rapid fire from the start. He spit out foreign policy facts and figures with the rapid fire of a machine gun. For example, he attacked Romney’s earlier campaign statement naming Russia as the U.S.’s Number.1 foreign threat by saying” The 1980’s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back…the cold war has been over for 20 years…you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980’s, the social policies of the 1950’s, and the economic policies in the 1920’s.” Obama also devastated Romney with his reference to “horses and bayonets” calling into question his rival’s understanding of the modern military.
Romney’s confidence from the first debate was not apparent. While he gave a good showing on foreign affairs knowledge, he played it too safe. First, Romney failed to differentiate how his foreign policy would benefit the country more than Obama’s. When he had the chance Romney didn’t come close to attacking Obama on his handling of the murder of the American Ambassador and three other Americans at the Libyan Embassy – a subject he has hammered Obama on at every chance on the campaign trail. There were also some awkward moments when Romney answered foreign affair questions by bringing in the topic of economy.
Going into this last debate, the two candidates were tied with one debate win each. With Obama having the advantage in foreign affairs knowledge, Romney needed to tie the President or win the debate to come out ahead. While Romney held his own against Obama, he wasn’t fighting as tough as he did in the first debate. For a candidate that has attacked Obama for not being tough enough on foreign affairs, this was a mistake noted by many television commentators.
The next round of debates will not be in a town hall but in the court of public opinion. With only days left before the election, the candidates can only hope that the undecided voters continue to listen to their messages on the campaign trail. Win or lose, both candidates deserve praise for receiving the nomination of their party – a distinction held by only a few men in history.