President Barack Obama and Republican contender Mitt Romney brought two different strategies into the third and final presidential debate tonight.
Obama seemed ready to pick apart Romney’s past record, while the Republican – taking a more measured tone, reminded Obama not to argue with him, but to stick in debating the issues.
And while there was no clear-cut winner (or maybe there was, depending on which side of the ballot you vote on), both candidates used the debate to try to convince undecided voters which one will make the best commander in chief and protect the country.
But event thought the debate was to be about foreign policy, the answers kept returning to the U.S. economy, which is probably of more interest to Americans than overseas matters.
1. Romney Missed a Lot of Jabs
Moderator Bob Scheiffer set Romney up for a chance to go on a knock out blow against Obama, when he asked him about the Behghazi attacks. Romney slipped away from the question, and the contender’s one chance to slam Obama on a matter that’s caused Americans to lose some confidence in the president want unanswered.
2. Using 80s Slang to Describe Current Affairs
One of the highlights of the debate was when Obama remarked the 1980s called and asked for their policy back. And in case you didn’t hear him say it once, he said it twice. David Spade would be so proud.
3. Debate Shifted to Economy and Back Quickly
Romney knows people care a lot more about what’s happening in their own back yards more than overseas. And he wasted no time slamming Obama’s policies.
“Under the policies of the past four years, we saw incomes decline and 24 million Americans are struggling to find jobs. In 2008 there were 32 million on food stamps, and now there are 47 million.”
4. We Can’t Kill Our Way Out of This
Romney got a nice pre-emptive strike on Obama, when he noted that he congratulated Obama when Osama bin Laden was killed, denying the president the ability to talk much about the death without sounding like he was boasting. However, Romney downplayed a growing “hawkish” reputation he’s gotten, saying foreign police needs to be more than just killing off enemies.
5. Romney Thinks Russia is Still a Threat
Obama poked a bit of ridicule at Romney for prior statements that Russia remains a threat, reminding him the Cold War has been over for some time. But Romney insisted that he won’t wear “rose-colored glasses” where Russia and Premier Vladimir Putin are concerned, either, which knowing Iran remains a primary threat to the country and the Middle East.
6. Romney and Obama Actually Agree on Some Things
They agree that Israel should be a priority, for example, and they both seemed to agree that military force should be a last resort, not a first one, when it comes to the Middle East. But other than that, Romney calls for tougher sanctions on Iran, while Obama insists the sanctions already in place are working.
7. Romney wants Iranian Leader Indicted
“Nuclear Iran is a threat to the United States,” Romney said. “I called for sanctions five years ago. They do work. It’s absolutely the right thing to do. I would tighten those sanctions.”
He also said he’d indict leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, block Iranian ships from bringing oil to the U.S., stop ships from other countries that deal with Iran from coming the U.S. and, heaven help you if you say the word IRAN to him. Okay, that last part was hyperbole. But Romney sees Iran as a threat to be crushed.
8. Agreeing With Obama Gave President Points
Romney, ironically, ended up supporting most of Obama’s overseas policies, rather than demanding more answers to the foreign policy plans of the past four years.
9. Then, There’s the Horses and Bayonets Comment
Romney decried the Obama administration’s policies and cutbacks to military spending that have resulted in far fewer warships and jets, to which Obama uttered the viral line of the night.
“Yes, we have fewer ships than in 1916,” Obama famously said. “We also have fewer horses and bayonets.”
10. They All Love Teachers
Toward the end of the debate, Schieffer got the laugh of the evening.
Romney was saying that economic recovery will depending on building business and providing jobs, he commented that the way to build the economy doesn’t depend on hiring teachers or the U.S. being involved in education over state rules. “Don’t get me wrong, I love teachers,” he said.
Schieffer responded “We know you love teachers, I love teachers, we all love teachers.”
Think we’re all the only ones tired of the debates? Schieffer’s exasperated comment and tone said it all. Move on, guys – just two more weeks to go.