In the final presidential debate, Mitt Romney sought to establish knowledge and credibility while President Barack Obama sought to convey that Romney cannot be trusted as commander in chief.
- (Photo: Reuters/Rick Wilking)
The candidates were seated next to each other at a table. Though there were still interruptions, the tone of the debate was more somber and collegial than the previous two debates, perhaps reflecting the serious nature of the threats being discussed.
On foreign policy matters, Romney is "all over the map," Obama said repeatedly. Romney, on the other hand, did not spend much time challenging Obama's positions. Instead, he spent much of the debate listing bullet points of his plans for dealing with the various foreign policy challenges around the world.
On his strategy for the Middle East, for instance, Romney listed a set of recommendations put together by Arab scholars that the United Nations organized.
On a number of issues, Romney pointed out where he agreed with the president. He congratulated Obama for killing Osama bin Laden and attacking the leadership of al Qaida. He agreed with Obama's decision to have a status of forces agreement with Iraq. He agreed that U.S. military should not be sent to Syria. And, he agreed with Obama's decision calling for Mubarak to step down in Egypt.
While the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Syria has been the most controversial aspect of Obama's foreign policy recently, Romney avoided delivering a detailed critique of the episode. Rather, he simply argued, hinting at Obama's preference for drone strikes, that "we can't kill our way out of this mess."
When listing his foreign policy accomplishments, Obama said he "ended the war in Iraq" and "al Qaida's core leadership has been decimated."
Later in the debate, Romney said, "is al Qaida on their heels? No."
Obama responded by arguing that "al Qaida does not have same capacity" it had when he took office.
Obama often reminded the audience that, as president, he already has foreign policy experience.
"Here's one thing I've learned as commander in chief," Obama said at one point. "You've got to be clear, both to our allies and our enemies, about where you stand and what you mean."
As The Christian Post predicted, there was also much discussion about domestic policy, even though the topic was foreign policy.
In particular, much time was spent discussing the bankruptcies of Chrysler and General Motors.
"The idea that has been suggested that I would liquidate the industry, of course not. Of course not," Romney said.
"Let's check the record," Obama replied, referring to a New York Times op-ed that Romney wrote.
"That's the height of silliness," Romney countered.
The debate took place in Boca Raton, Fla., and was moderated by CBS' Bob Schieffer. There are no more presidential debates scheduled before the Nov. 6 election.