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Readers: What did you think of the debate?
Obama stuck to the point that we need to go after terrorists; Romney held that his attention is on preventing a nuclear Iran. On Israel, drones and a great deal of other subjects, the two basically said the same thing. I say this debate was pretty much a draw, largely because it was hard to keep the candidates off the topic of domestic policy.
By the way, according to @googlepolitics, Google searches for “bayonets” spiked by 7215 percent during the debate. Thankfully, no mention of binders or Big Bird came up this time, and Romney finally left that 23 million statistic at home.
What do you think? Did this debate change your opinion on the candidates? Were you pleased with the content covered in the debate? Do you think there was a winner — or that there can be, when both candidates take such similar stances on policy? Let us know in the comments!
9:31: Closing statements:
Both men clearly took a note from VP hopeful Paul Ryan on how to maintain eye contact with the camera during closing statements.
Obama: I want to build on our strengths, and I’ve put forth a plan… Again brings up supporting small business, better education, clean and futuristic energy sources and cuts in spending. As Commander in Chief, he wants to maintain the strongest military in the world, but after a decade of war, we need to focus on our veterans and ending it. “I will always listen to your voices. I will fight for your families, and I will work every single day to make sure that America is the greatest nation on earth.”
Romney: We have an opportunity to promote peace (it’s been his theme during this debate) and make the country more confident that their future is secure. Romney says we need to focus on the economy, and getting more jobs (contrasting his plan with Obama’s at every point). “I know what it takes to get this country back, and we’ll work with good Democrats and good Republicans to do that,” he said. Romney calls for strong leadership, and requests to be that leader to “maintain America as the hope of the earth.” I don’t know what that means, but he said “hope of the earth” twice in his closing statement.
9:27: Obama reiterates that he wants to invest in science and technology. In regards to education, as well as research.
Romney says investing in companies to do so is a mistake. Example: Solyndra.
Obama accuses Romney of trying to airbrush history.
9:20: Romney: Potential allies look at us, and they see our debt. They see our cuts to military spending. He labels China a currency manipulator, and says they steal our intellectual property and sells counterfeit versions of our products, but says we can trade with them (because Americans are all about free enterprise), but we have to be clear on the problems. For instance, an enormous trade imbalance.
Romney’s bottom line: China can be a great trading partner, but we can’t let them roll all over us. And China doesn’t want to be in a trade war with the U.S., because they would experience some losses.
Obama: If we had taken Romney’s advice on the auto bailout, we’d have to be buying cars from China right now. Obama says US exports have doubled since he came into office.
9:18: Obama: We need to create great businesses in the U.S. and invest in science and technology education.
Romney reiterates that he does not believe government creates jobs.
9:13: FINALLY. DRONES.
Romney: Says he supports drone action completely. We’re going to have to do more than going after the leaders of the bad guys. But we do need to help the nations reject Islamic extremism.
Obama immediately starts talking about how his administration has stuck up for democracy, in Tunisia, Egypt, etc. He seems to have missed the question about drones, which has been a tough issue for his administration in the past.
9:11: Romney: This is a nation which, if it falls apart, there are nuclear weapons there. There are terrorists there. Romney says Pakistan is technically an ally, but they aren’t acting like one. He says we’re going to have to work with Pakistan to move toward a “more responsible course.”
9:05: Time to talk Afghanistan.
Romney: We need to encourage Pakistan to move in the right direction, and encourage Afghanistan to be ready to take care of itself. He now says we’ll be heading out by the end of 2014?
Obama: “We’d forgotten why we’d gone to Afghanistan” when he took office. “There’s no reason why Americans should die when Afghans are perfectly responsible of taking care fo their own country.”
9:02: Obama: Governor, on a whole range of issues, you’ve been all over the map. He’s says Romney has changed his ideas a lot in the past. “I look at what we need to get done to keep the American people safe, and I make those decisions,” Obama says.
8:57: Obama: You do business with China, bro. (paraphrased, clearly) Obama says he’ll let the nation decide on Romney, based on that.
Romney: “We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran.” Romney also attacks Obama on his “apology tour” again. “We haven’t dictated to other nations,” he said, addressing a quote in which he alleges Obama said America has played dictator to nations in the past. “We have freed other nations from dictators.”
Obama: My first trip as a candidate on the campaign trail was to visit our troops — not to visit fundraisers.
8:55: Romney: When the president said he would “create daylight” between America and Israel, they noticed. Romney says Obama’s “apology tour” made us look weak, and a strong president is essential to make Iran understand that their actions are unacceptable.
8:52: Obama: Iran needs to give up its nuclear program, because they have the opportunity to re-enter the League of Nations. He says that the sanctions against Iran would be too meticulous … basically that tightening sanctions just isn’t going to happen.
8:46: Schieffer: Would either of you be willing to say an attack on Israel is the same as an attack on the U.S.?
Obama: Israel is a true friend, and our greatest ally in the region. He says he will stand with Israel if they are attacked. His disagreement with Romney, he says, is that Romney implies we should take preemptive action, whereas Obama believes that sending in troops is a last resort.
Romney: The phrase “we have their back” has been utilized. He says we need to increase pressure, sanctions on those who pose a threat or act in a way unacceptable to America. A military action, he says, is the last resort. We should, however, ensure that their diplomats become pariahs around the world.
8:42: Obama: “We spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined.” So, we need a new budget. “The Math Doesn’t Work” should be Obama’s new anti-Romney slogan, because he sure does love to say it.
Romney: Our navy and air force don’t have the support they need. “To maintain the safety of the American people” is the most important part of the job (y’know, President), and he refuses to cut a trillion dollars.
Obama: “Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets … we have ships that go underwater!” He says the budget cuts are Congress’s fault, and it’s about cooler technology rather than ‘counting ships.’
And still. No one has brought up drones.
8:38: Schieffer: Can we just get back to foreign policy? Romney: No. Back to education reform!
8:35: Romney: “What we’ve seen over the last four years isn’t what I want to see over the next four years.” And here he goes with a numbered list of plans again. We’re talking about clean energy and Latin America and education and the budget and — wait, wasn’t this about foreign policy?
HE BROUGHT UP SMALL BUSINESS. Does anyone else feel some deja vu?
8:34: Obama: America needs to reduce our deficit, but Romney’s plans won’t cut it. Also, clean energy will show we have awesome leadership skills.
8:31: Romney: America has responsibility to promote principles of peace throughout the world, and we need a strong economy to do so. Way to bring the economy (aka sort of your strong point) back into it, Mitt!
8:30: By the way, if you hear something about Romney saying “We can’t kill our way out of this mess,” this Associated Press article sums it up pretty well.
8:27: Obama basically just said Romney’s ideas are no different than his, because Obama’s ideas are the right ones. Does that mean they’re both right? They’re continuing to essentially say the same things.
8:18: Obama on Syria: He and his administration have made it clear Assad has to go. They’ve mobilized sanctions against that government; but ultimately Syrians are going to have to decide their own future. “For us to get more entangled… is a serious step,” Obama said. “We have to make sure we’re not putting weapons in the hands of those who could turn them against us. I am confident that Assad’s days are numbered.”
Romney labels it a humanitarian tragedy, but also an opportunity for us (because of where it is?). He says we don’t want military involvement there, but we need to bring together a counsel on Syria and ensure they have weapons. But we need to make sure those weapons don’t get into the wrong hands. He calls for a “very effective leadership” and says he believes Assad “must go,” but that we must maintain friendships with those who take Assad’s place. It’s not clear whether he’s saying we should give Syrian rebels guns, nor is it clear how we keep them out of ‘the wrong hands.’
They both essentially made the same argument while still implying disagreement.
8:14: Romney: “Attacking me is not an agenda.” He’s bringing back that “rising tide” phrase and a tone that says he’s on the offense. I think Obama struck a nerve…
8:14: Romney: The right course for us is to go after the leaders of anti-American groups. How do we get the world to reject this terrorism? Romney says economic growth, gender equality.
Obama to Romney: “Every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong.” He points out that Romney’s never had the opportunity to practice foreign policy. Romney doesn’t interrupt on that one.
8:05: Foreign policy means we’re jumping straight to Libya. Romney goes first.
Arab Spring brought about hope of a new era of moderation, Romney said. “Instead we’ve seen, nation after nation, a disturbing series of events … ” Events he mentions include Syria under Assad, Libya, Egypt’s new leadership and the threat of Iran’s potential nuclear weaponry. Well worded, except that it took him a solid minute of talking to get to the bit about Libya — the subject of the question.
“My first job is to keep the American people safe, and that’s what we’ve done for the last four years,” Obama said. He wants Afghans to take responsibility for their own safety. With respect to Libya, he remains adamant he is doing everything possible to find out what happened and bring those responsible to justice.
Let’s get the night started! The third and final presidential debate will focus on foreign policy and is moderated by Bob Schieffer, host of “Face the Nation” on CBS. Schieffer previously released the topics for tonight.
- Presidential Debates – LIVE
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- Best celebrity campaign videos 2012
- Some of the best election internet moments (so far): The Rumble, Big Bird and binders full of women
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