Obama and Romney in final push

Barack Obama (left) and Mitt Romney in Boca Raton, Florida 22 October 2012 Europe did not get a mention in the third presidential debate on foreign policy

US President Barack Obama had the best lines, but perhaps Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney had the best night.

Not in the sense that he won the debate - it was a draw if you have to judge these things that way.

But Mr Romney pivoted to President Peaceful and stomped on any suggestion he would take America into new foreign wars.

He didn't make any of the errors he had made in the past or say anything demonstrably silly. He said he would keep to Mr Obama's policy of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan by 2014 and agreed that sanctions against Iran were working. As one tweeter put it, his policy seemed to be "speak louder, and carry the same stick".

But Mr Obama was firm - and funny. He undermined Mr Romney's alarm that America had fewer ships than in 1916 by saying that it had fewer bayonets and horses as well. He said the 1980s were calling because they wanted their foreign policy back.

He didn't play the indignant and offended president, which I had expected him to do, but he did set out his achievements calmly and clearly.

Both men repeatedly tried to talk about the economy, which they know is of more concern to most Americans than what happens abroad.

The debate was depressing in that foreign policy seemed pretty much to equal the Middle East. Israel must have been mentioned dozens of times.

China got a brief look-in, in the last quarter of an hour, but mainly as a trade rival. I didn't hear Europe mentioned at all.

This final debate probably won't shift the opinion polls, but it saw a marked change in emphasis in Mr Romney's foreign policy.

That is a danger for him, in that it resurrects the old flip-flopping charge. But it also suggests a new confidence, that he has to convince people he is safe enough to entrust with the presidency.

Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

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  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    404. mscracker

    Religious folks can follow their beliefs, just shouldn't be able force them on the rest of us or those with different religious views.

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    434 Billythefirst

    ‘And he has stated that 47% of people don't matter to him - which was pretty jolly brave.’

    Except of course he said it to his rich backers, not expecting the world would hear about it. Then they did. And he said he was right. And of course Andrea agreed. Then he changed his mind... (‘They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning...’)

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    368 mscracker Read Jefferson to the Conn. Baptists, Madison and Adams on the Constitution. The separation was intentional, unless you want the US to look like the sectarian ME today or Europe past. It can happen again.

    376MidwesternSue “It is against my faith...” so you force others to do without and complain of being forced. You see no problem in here? The only cure, separation of C&S!

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    321. AndreaNY “You don't get to deny the rights of an organization because you disagree with it.”
    You mean I can’t oppose the KKK, Arian Nation, etc.? I disagree, it is required that we oppose those who would destroy the Constitution.

    355 Arthur Daley Honey pot is a euphemism for chamber pot, which could be used to describe much of the Middle East.

    358 AndreaNY Catholics swing both ways?

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    RE 235 mscracker LL went overboard. However, both the Protestant Right and the RCC hierarchy meddle in politics in an effort to force their views on others in our SECULAR republic. If they kept out of politics, I wouldn't bother about them. My oath to protect the Constitution requires me to oppose their plots on issues of secularity, civil rights and separation of church and state.


Comments 5 of 445



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