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 North America editor

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  • rate this
    0

    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
    +1

    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
    +1

    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
    +1

    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
    +1

    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.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 440.

    Chryses @437
    "self-contradiction"?

    Read again Chryses: "divisively bind together" means - if you will allow, and as I fear you had and still must have 'difficulty' in not seeing - means to bind people into groups pitted against each other

    Uncharacteristic lack of generosity, 'not seeking & not seeing' meaning from 'All for All'

    Have I ever let you down?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 439.

    126. Lou Cypher
    I watched the President carefully because my oath requires me to defend the Constitution. You are very FOXy but completely wrong. FOX attacked him for violating it by defending the Muslim's freedom of speech and rights to use their property to build a center in NYC. He actually followed it to the letter by protecting them. If he hadn't the GOP House would have impeached.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 438.

    432.Billythefirst
    I disagree with Ron Paul fundamentally in several key areas but I respect his intellect, his prescience and desire to extract commerce from government.He is one of the few politicians around with genuine integrity"
    **
    I agree.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 437.

    All for All (422),

    "Chryses@401
    Levity of despair? ..."

    Only for those who post self-contradictions: "divisively bind together" @396

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 436.

    Billythefirst (427),

    “Has Romney definitely dispensed with the annihilation of Iran as a key element of his foreign policy …”

    It was never a key element of his foreign policy, but you knew that when you implied otherwise.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 435.

    readwriteandblue (415),

    "... But the constitution guarantees that you may not use your business to impose your views on your employees ..."

    That's not true.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 434.

    #433
    John, that's unfair, he's been really consistent about not revealing his tax records or the figures underpinning his so called 5 point "plan".
    And he has stated that 47% of people don't matter to him - which was pretty jolly brave.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 433.

    427 ‘Has Romney definitely dispensed with the annihilation of Iran as a key element of his foreign policy - anyone?’

    Well it’s 2141 here so - yes
    Wait-it’s 2142 so - no
    Now it’s 2143 so -maybe
    And it’s 2144 here so - what answer would YOU like?...

    And do you mean Gov Romney, Primaries Romney, Progressive Romney, Severe Conservative Romney? You'll have to be more specific.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 432.

    #430 MSC
    But who is threatening to invade the States?

    I disagree with Ron Paul fundamentally in several key areas but I respect his intellect, his prescience and desire to extract commerce from government.He is one of the few politicians around with genuine integrity.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 431.

    90. chris dumfries: "Republicans fiercely resisted the end of slavery" The Dixicrats {primitive old-fashioned Democrats} moved to the GOP when the Democrat party under Johnson turned against racism, segregation and the Solid [headed] South.

    Tell history as it was, the party you describe was the pre-1964 Democratic Party.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 430.

    429.Billythefirst :
    Romney wants to increase the size of the military - why? Humanitarian reasons?"
    **
    For self defense purposes,which is legitimate.But I hear you in a way.During the primary debates, every candidate but Ron Paul was trying to appear a bigger warmonger than the next.Like most campaigning, it's all posturing,@least up to a point.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 429.

    It strikes me as odd that religious people, especially those who vote for Romney, can warble on about the sanctity of life.
    Romney wants to increase the size of the military - why? Humanitarian reasons?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 428.

    7. Western Cowboy
    If you think that Pres. Obama is the best of the two who are likely to win, you are abdicating your responsibility as a citizen to vote for someone who can't possibly win.

    The same goes for people who think [and I mean think, not feel] that Romney would be the best president. This applies to all offices. I request all US citizens to do their homework & vote the real issues.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 427.

    Has Romney definitely dispensed with the annihilation of Iran as a key element of his foreign policy - anyone?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 426.

    mscracker@425

    Not trying to worry, or distract from campaign, or necessarily to advocate forcing of reproduction, sterilisation, abortion or 'taking into care', with respect to 'best & worst' of our 'gene pool'

    BUT, possible to imagine a last throw of dice, perhaps like God's in East Africa: 'Lucy' carried strength for 'us' to survive, stewards for others to come

    AND no need to imagine 'today'

 

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