Presidential Debate (Final Round): Obama wins


October 23, 2012

Presidential Debate (Final Round):Obama wins

By AFP

BOCA RATON (Oct 22, 2012): A feisty President Barack Obama ridiculed Mitt Romney as “all over the map” Monday on foreign policy, accusing him of telling untruths and backing “wrong” policies in their fiercely fought final debate.

Obama and his Republican foe clashed on Iran’s nuclear program, the Arab Spring, Libya and Syria, diverting at times to the domestic economy, as they sought to break the deadlock in the White House race two weeks from election day.

The President, playing on his poll ratings as a strong leader, said that Romney had changed his positions on foreign policy over and over again and warned that he lacked the consistency needed of a Commander-in-Chief.

“On a whole range of issues, whether it is in the Middle East, Afghanistan, whether it is in Iraq, whether it is in Iran, you have been all over the map,” Obama said in the foreign policy-themed debate in Florida.And he openly mocked Romney’s claims that that he had run down the armed forces to levels not seen since early in the 20th Century.

“You mentioned the navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military’s changed,” he said to laughter from the audience.

“We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.So the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s, what are our capabilities?”

Romney launched a sweeping critique of Obama’s policies on the Arab Spring, Syria and Iran, but was careful to come across as moderate, moving away from more conservative positions as he took a Commander-in-Chief test.

Often, Romney appeared to differ with the President more on tone than substance, as the rivals vied for the votes of remaining undecided voters in crucial swing states.

Romney, a former Massachusetts Governor congratulated Obama for “taking out” Osama bin Laden, but warned Islamic extremism was rampant in post-Arab Spring societies, and cautioned “we can’t kill our way out of this mess.”

Romney also called on Obama to do more to end violence in Syria and demanded tightened sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

“I thought they saw weakness where they had been expected to find American strength,” Romney said of leaders in Tehran, accusing the president of making “apology tours” abroad.

The President hit back, complaining “nothing Governor Romney said is true,” calling his Iran charge the “biggest whopper” of the campaign.

Obama also launched a scathing attack on Romney’s foreign tour as a candidate earlier this year, saying when he had been running for the White House he visited US troops and Israel to reflect on the Holocaust.

“I didn’t take donors,” Obama charged, noting the fact that Romney carried out a political fundraisers with wealthy Jewish donors in Israel.

The President looked puzzled, bemused and sometimes incredulous with Romney’s savage critique of his diplomacy, as seen on a split screen carried by television networks screening the debate.

“I know you haven’t been in a position to actually execute foreign policy, but every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong,” Obama told his opponent, a former Massachusetts Governor.

The President, who withdrew troops from Iraq, pointed to Romney’s past statements in support of keeping a US military presence in the country that was invaded in 2003 under former Republican President George W. Bush.

“Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s,” Obama said.

Romney offered a dismal assessment of the President’s strategy, pointing to bloodshed in Syria and in Libya — where four Americans including the US Ambassador were killed last month — and twice mentioning Al-Qaeda gains in Mali.

Obama called the violence in Syria “heartbreaking.”The rivals are neck-and-neck in national polls after Romney surged following his first debate win in early October and started chipping away at Obama’s foundation in the swing states that will decide the election.

Foreign policy is unlikely to decide who wins on November 6, with the sluggish economy driving the election, but Romney is under pressure to show basic competence following a string of blunders.

New polls released Monday had the race a cliffhanger with two weeks to go.CBS News and ABC News had Obama up by two and one points in the national race, but a Politico/GWU/Battleground poll showed Romney leading by two points.

While national polls offer a snapshot of momentum in the race, the nine or so states that could swing to either side will define the outcome.

Obama retains several pathways to the 270 electoral votes needed to win on November 6, but Romney has chiselled away at his advantage with signs that Florida and North Carolina are slipping towards the Republican.

Romney won the first debate after a lethargic performance from Obama, but the president’s feisty showing on Long Island, New York last week made the third debate as a tie-breaker of sorts. – AFP

11 thoughts on “Presidential Debate (Final Round): Obama wins

  1. Romney’s neo-conservative foreign policy credentials leave me in dread of his entry to the White House.

  2. October 23, 2012

    The Leaks and Gaffes of Mitt Romney
    by Umapagan Ampikaipakan@www.nst.com.my

    POLLING data be damned. The 45th President of the United States will not be Willard Mitt Romney.

    Throughout this campaign, there has been a prevailing notion that November’s presidential election will be one of the closest in history, that Barack Obama and Romney are on level pegging, that the American people are inexplicably torn between a President burdened by circumstance and a candidate who doesn’t really know what he’s doing. There is this misplaced belief that merely being the best of a bad bunch and having the ability to fool some people some of the time will somehow make up for political ineptitude.

    But American elections are an intricate and constantly refining process that is, for the most part, entirely intolerant of anything or anyone not up to par. For while this quadrennial electoral exercise is forgiving of a great many things, political incompetence is something rarely condoned (see: Bob Dole, Al Gore, John Kerry and John McCain — in that order).

    Which is why I have never quite bought the idea that this was an election too close to call. I’ve never really been convinced by a sample size of 1,012 with an acceptable margin of error of plus/minus three. Remember that even Bush and Kerry were neck and neck at this point of the election cycle back in 2004.

    The sad fact of the matter is that even though Romney has been “the” Republican candidate for the presidency, he hasn’t done much to go beyond that initial label of being “presumptive”. His has been a campaign run ragged with hesitancy and indecision, with complete and utter befuddlement about the issues, and with blatant lies about his opponent’s track record. His has been a campaign riddled with leaks and gaffes. But most of all, after one of the longest campaign periods in history, we are still no closer to having a handle on where Romney stands on anything. What are his views on abortion? How does he really feel about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? Did he or did he not see his father march with Martin Luther King Jr? Just how conservative a conservative is he? If at all.

    Political savvy can make up for a lot of a candidate’s shortcomings. A campaign can be winning if it is disciplined and organised, if it is a cohesive force, always staying on message and never giving ground. The problem with the Romney campaign is that we never quite knew what the message was. You see, Romney only has himself to blame when he loses in two weeks. He has run a campaign that has been rooted entirely in the short term. His was a stump that was all about beating Obama. There were no grand ideas. There were no bold new enterprises. His wasn’t a movement. He wasn’t playing to lead and he wasn’t playing for history.

    And therein lies the very simple truth. You need to run a great campaign to win an election. Anything less will just see you relegated to the dredges of history, right along with Michael Dukakis and Hubert Humphrey, with Wendell Willkie and Adlai Stevenson. This is an election that feels very much like a repeat of what happened with Bush and Kerry in 2004. Ohio will go Obama’s way and the rest, as they say, will be history.

    And so, on Nov 7, when the Republican Party are left licking their wounds, the one question that will plague them isn’t how to win back the White House in 2016, but rather how to realign American politics in order to once again build a durable Republican majority.

    For that, maybe they will have to look back to the 1960s, when the prospects for the Republican Party were as bleak as they are now. A time when they had abandoned their core principles and were “daily consigned by “enlightened” commentators to “political oblivion”. When conservatism was in danger of becoming an ideology of the past. They need to forget about the Tea Party and return to Barry Goldwater’s conception of conservatism. That “the laws of God, and of nature, have no dateline. The principles on which the conservative political position is based have been established by a process that has nothing to do with the social, economic, and political landscape that changes from decade to decade to decade and from century to century. These principles are derived from the nature of man, and from truths that God has revealed about His creation”. And then, and maybe then, will they have a movement again.

  3. I mentioned after the previous encounter that neither of the candidates or their parties were equipped to handle the problems facing America, After watching the latest encounter, I am fully convinced.

    I use the word “encounter” because to call them “debates” is almost surreal. Both the Democrats and Republicans have between them, betrayed the American people in the biggest rip-off that country has ever experienced.

    These “debates’ will never touch on real issues… but never mind… the Americans are slowly but surely beginning to understand the game.

    If we are giving choices mine will be Ron Paul. If only his views on Foreign Policy were implemented his country would be on the road to recovery.
    ________
    Ron Paul, Isa, is ancient…But it is not a bad idea for Obama when he is re-elected to study what Ron had said on foreign policy during the Republican primaries. I think, Obama is right to give diplomacy (soft power ala Nye) a chance to work. You don’t make friends fighting wars. Bush2 policies showed the limits of American military power.–Din Merican

  4. Ron Paul’s views make good bed time reading. They are not difficult to understand.. However, his views are too extreme and exist only on the lunatic fringe of American politics.

  5. What more extreme and lunatic a fringe can you get when a country decides to wreak havoc on practically the entire world. And if anyone thinks I particularly mean the Islamic world they are wrong… ask the South Americans for one.

    Of course Ron Paul’s views are not difficult to understand… his Foreign Policy views mainly state that the US has no business to be waging war outside its borders and especially wars conducted WITHOUT THE AUTHORITY OF THE CONGRESS.

    Ron Paul maybe ancient… but ancients often made a lot more sense than the present lot.

    The US has to break free from its obsession with manufactured demons.

  6. @ Din, how sure are you that one is better than the other. What is and was Obama’s clear message? It was change we must. Now what is it? Both are equally fumbling and less than honest; one has the advantage of incumbency. The other the advantage of less than a stellar record for the incumbent. Politics is not about honesty or clarity of vision. It is about being thick-skinned and appearance (or seeming appearance) and winning the presidency is often not much different. But economic considerations are likely to determine the outcome this time. Certainly god and the divine sleep and will have no influence on who wins or loses, unless the world burns in brimstone and fire then irrational fear and god and the divine rule.
    ______________
    His message to the American people, in contrast to Mitt Romney’s, is “Forward” as the US must be engaged in meaningful partnership with free and democratic nations in an Internet driven world. To do that America must be economically strong and fiscally more responsible.

    American foreign policy, as always and as in previous administration, will be driven by its national interests. And always, the security and safety of the American people must come first. Obama made all that very clear in his foreign policy debate with his republican rival.–Din Merican

  7. Oh come come Dato.. you don’t still believe all this stuff about security and safety do you? Who exactly is presenting a danger to the much-touted American dream? Absolutely nobody.

    The US is in a frenzy of destruction in practically every corner of the world… “Ancient” Americans like Ron Paul are saying that their country should mind its own business. And the good news is that more and more Americans are beginning to come round to this ancient viewpoint.

  8. Dato Din Merican : May I suggest that you post the THIRD PARTY PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE on your site. I am sure many readers will be glad to be given an opportunity to listen to an alternative side to the US Presidential Elections.

    The debate was moderated by Larry King and is available on rt.com site.

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