Obama and Romney in final push
- 23 October 2012
- From the section US & Canada
The third and final US presidential debate between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney took place in Florida. Here are some highlights.
Playing on his own role as commander-in-chief, Mr Obama accused Mr Romney of having an outdated Cold War era-approach to foreign policy.
"Every time you've offered an opinion, you've been wrong," he said.
"I'm glad that you recognise that al-Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geo-political threat facing America, you said Russia."
Mr Obama joked "the 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back".
Mr Romney replied that Russia was "a geopolitical foe" while Iran represented the greatest national security threat to American security.
"The right course for us is to make sure that we go after the people who are leaders of anti-American groups and jihadists, but also help the Muslim world."
Mr Romney repeatedly said that, to promote peace abroad, America needed a strong defence force. He criticised Mr Obama's proposed cuts in military spending and said the navy was smaller now "than at any time since 1917".
"The highest responsibility" of a US president, he said, was to "maintain the safety of the American people, and I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars... That in my view is making our future less certain and less secure".
Mr Obama accused his opponent of failing to understand the nature of modern defence.
"You mention the navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets," he said.
"Because the nature of the military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines".
Referring to Mr Obama's meetings with Middle East leaders, Mr Romney said his rival had embarked on an "apology tour", which had left the US weakened in the eyes of countries like Iran.
"One of the challenges we've had with Iran is that they have looked at this administration, and felt that the administration was not as strong as it needed to be."
Mr Obama rejected Mr Romney's accusations as "the biggest whopper" of the campaign.
"We've put in the toughest, most crippling sanctions ever."
In a heated exchange over their travels abroad, Mr Romney said the president had failed to visit Israel during his "apology tour" of the Middle East.
"You skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations. And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel."
Mr Obama hit back, slamming Mr Romney for using his Israel trips to raise political funds.
"When I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn't take donors," he said. "I went to the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself of the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable."
Mr Romney said China had forced American companies to close "by holding down artificially the value of their currency".
"They're stealing our intellectual property, our patents, our designs, our technology, hacking into our computers, counterfeiting our goods.
"That's why on day one, I will label them a currency manipulator, which allows us to apply tariffs where they're taking jobs."
Mr Obama replied by saying that under Mr Romney's policy, the US was buying cars from China instead of selling cars to China.