Yahoo News asked voters for their quick-hit reaction to the third presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Here is a roundup of their thoughts from Monday night.
While I liked Obama's points about teachers and Romney's points about increasing trade with South America and achieving North American energy independence by using all of our resources, I found myself displeased with both candidates by the end of this debate. Neither really discussed several important foreign policy issues, such as the EU economic crisis and how it impacts our economy, and what to do about our next-door neighbor Mexico and the 50,000-plus deaths from the border drug wars.
In two weeks I have to make a choice; this last debate didn't make it any easier.
Mitt Romney stated numerous times in favor of arming the opposition forces in Syria while President Obama stated a cautious approach when contemplating giving arms to the opposition.
During the Iraq/Iran War, we supplied arms to Iraq only to have them turned on us a decade later. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the arms supplied to the Afghans were also turned against us years later. These are learned lessons that a leader of the United States should know and be mindful of when making their decisions. President Obama's answer to this question clearly indicates his understanding of lessons learned. Mitt Romney's answer clearly lacks any indication that he understands this.
Mitt Romney came to the third and final debate with the goal of being presidential. He succeeded in doing that with alacrity, seeming calm, competent, and not crazy.
He engaged in the debate by basically not engaging, largely agreeing with Obama on many of the foreign policy points, while taking jabs only when they were certain to land home, such as when he hit the president on the so-called "apology tour."
President Barack Obama made the major mistake of thinking he was engaged in a standard debate with his opponent, in which the one who made the most rhetorical points wins. He made some good points, but on occasionally seemed petty and petulant.
While differences in foreign policy were hard to come by, perhaps one of the most interesting interactions of the night came when the two candidates began to discuss their differences in education. Romney voiced his concerns over teachers unions, while President Obama discussed the need for more teachers in math and science as well as the need to lower the number of students in each class.
Viewing the debate as a moderate, undecided voter, I would say the debate was a draw; each side can claim victory. Clearly, a tight election is on the horizon.
Obama dispensed zingers early and often, from "the 1980s called; they want their foreign policy back" to "we have these things called aircraft carriers" to jabs about Romney's investments in companies that did business overseas and outsourced American jobs. Every remark was calculated to suggest that Romney is out of touch with current events and stuck in failed past Republican policies.
Romney once again frequently referred to the letdowns of the past four years, but because Obama's foreign policy record is much stronger than his domestic record, it was less effective. He had to give credit for Obama successes such as killing Osama bin Laden and couldn't articulate how his Syria policy would differ. Meat Loaf once sang that "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," and Obama better hope it's "not bad" enough to win re-election.
Romney had the advantage of drawing the first question response and he had the advantage of making the final statement of the debate. Even so, there were no new ideas from him or concrete solutions to our nation's problems. He repeated his standard campaign talking points.
Obama was strongest in the middle of the debate. He brought up nation-building at home two separate times as a way to help this country.
While I was concerned at one point that Bob Schieffer might have left the building, he was a good moderator overall.
A sitting president always has a bit of an advantage in a foreign policy debate. He has the inside scoop. It's just the nature of his job. I felt President Obama took advantage of this and came out more aggressive, answering any attacks and launching a few of his own. Mitt Romney tried to attack the president's policies on Israel, Iran and military spending, but to me, these attacks fell short. The bottom line is that on foreign policy, the candidates are not as far apart as they would like you to believe. I went into this debate supporting President Obama and I still do. We didn't hear anything new tonight. I think it's time to vote.
If we spend less time discussing how to plan wars and global dominance, we would have more time and resources to fix our country. This was two of the seven choices for president in my state. For those that would like a different choice between the two parties represented tonight, there are several more debating Tuesday night. It will be moderated by Larry King and will be available live on rt.com.