Zachary Staab National and World News Editor
The third and final debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney occurred on October 22 in Boca Raton, Florida at Lynn University. Bob Schieffer, Chief Washington Correspondent, was the debate moderator and struggled to keep the candidates on track throughout the night.
Schieffer’s questions focused on five significant foreign policy issues: (1) America’s role in the world, (2) Afghanistan and Pakistan, (3) Israel and Iran (4) Changes in the Middle East, in association with terrorism, and (5) China in tomorrow’s world. Obama answered questions about America’s role in the world by avoiding the premise of the question, and the accomplishments of his presidency.
“We are rebuilding our economy by strengthening the auto industry, cutting oil imports and focusing on alternative energy, and retraining workers. Romney’s plan doesn’t cut the deficit,” said Obama. According to USA Today – oil imports fell to 45% last year, the lowest level in 16 years. It’s been 3 years since the government’s $25 billion bailout of U.S. auto industry, sales have strengthening 20 percent year-over-year since the bailout, according to Canadian Business magazine.
Romney answered with similar vague responses on America’s role in the world, stressing that that we have a responsibility to “promote principles such as elections, freedom of speech, end no more conflict.” Romney went on to reiterate Obama’s plans to strengthen auto industry and focus on alternative energy. Romney pointed out that increased trade with Latin America is crucial for improving our economy.
On the continued presence of the U.S. in Afghanistan until 2014, both Romney and Obama agreed that the Afghans should be capable of controlling their own country by the deadline. Obama said, “We’ve met many of the objectives that got us there in the first place by decimating Al Qaeda’s core leadership.” The Huffington Post reports in a Harris poll that 66 percent of Americans oppose the war in Afghanistan. When asked about Pakistan, Romney said, “We have to work with Pakistan, they have too many nuclear weapons to ignore.”
When asked about the goal for Iran, Romney failed to discuss definite goals for suppressing the Iranians. Rather, Romney pointed out the flaws in Obama’s “Apology tour,” saying, “Our enemies see weakness in Obama because he ignored the Green Revolution and apologized for the U.S.” The Green Revolution refers to a series of events after the 2009 presidential election in Iran, where protesters demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying the election results were inaccurate. In Israel, Romney would tighten sanctions and stand fight with Israel, “Ships with Iranian oil wouldn’t be allowed in our ports,” said Romney.
Obama responded to an attack on Israel, saying, “Our sanctions are working, Iran’s currency has dropped 80 percent,” said Obama. A report from NY Times showed a 65 percent decline in Iran’s exchange rate relative to the U.S. dollar since Obama took office. Obama concluded that the nuclear program must end in Iraq. They must “cooperate with inspections and meet demands,” Obama said.
President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney differed on foreign policy in the Middle East. “We’ve kept the U.S. safe for the last four years,” Obama said. The president was quick to point out that Romney’s views on the Middle East have not been consistent. Romney quickly dispersed that claim with, “Russia is a geopolitical foe, and they provide more backbone instead of flexibility.” Romney voiced that extremism needs to be rejected by the Muslim community, that’s the key to my approach in the Middle East. There was no reveal of plans or comprehensive steps to the furthered development of Middle Eastern countries by either candidate. Possibly the most apparent and complete answers of the debate were revealed when Schieffer asked the candidates what the greatest threat to our countries National Security is. Obama expressed concern with China, saying that China can be a great threat and a great partner.
Is anyone reminded of the 1996 film The Cable Guy, starring Jim Carey as Chip Douglas? Chip is stalking his customer Steven Kovacs, played by Mathew Broderick. Chip insists that Steven should hang out with him more, a visibly hesitant Steven stutters and uncomfortably declines his interest in spending more time with Chip. Chip becomes enraged and responds, “I can be your best friend or worst enemy. You seem to prefer the latter.”
Moving on, Obama admitted that the U.S. needs to beef up education and ensure that imposed trade sanctions are being met. Romney, in opposition, said that China doesn’t want war and the greatest threat to America is a nuclear Iran. After Romney’s strong performance in the first debate and a mostly neutral second debate, most polls show Obama and Romney tied or one of the candidates ahead by a slight margin. Fresh polling results indicate Obama may have won the third debate, but recent poll results to not show a significant change.
Millions of American’s tuned in to watch the rumble between Romney and Obama, but do these debates sway voters and do debate performances show who could be a better president? Experts analyze, coworkers express their opinions, and pundits present a biased viewpoint, but don’t the debates mostly prove who the better debater is? Mitt Romney and President Obama are primed and prepped before each performance to use “zingers” and catch their opponent of guard with witticism and superior intellect. The statistics by both candidates proved to be relatively accurate this debate, which has not necessarily been the case in previous debates. Nevertheless, Obama and Romney are putting on a performance for Americans, with the candidate who showed better debate techniques usually winning. Debates are similar to applying for a job, the applicant tries to show portray themselves in the best possible light, the validity and accuracy of the applicants portrayal may not be completely realistic. Sufficient research is required to select a candidate, choosing a candidate based solely their debate performance may be foolish.