Last week was the third and final presidential debate between the two leading presidential candidates, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The debate centered on foreign policy and highlighted Romney’s lack of experience in the subject.
During the debate, Romney pointed out that the US Navy is relatively small compared to the past by saying, “Our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now at under 285. We’re headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. That’s unacceptable to me.”
Obama’s rebuttal was the most watched moment and was highly televised following the debate. He said, “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. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”
According to news outlets and social media, Obama won the debate due to Romney’s lack of experience in the subjects discussed.
The debate’s focus was on foreign policy, but the candidates often turned questions around and made them about domestic issues such as jobs, the economy, and education. The moderator, Bob Schieffer, at one point even said, “Let me get back to foreign policy.”
In the debate, Obama attacked Romney’s lack of experience when he said, “Governor here’s one thing I’ve learned as commander-in-chief. You’ve got to be clear, both to our allies and our enemies, about where you stand and what you mean. You just gave a speech a few weeks ago in which you said we should still have troops in Iraq. That is not a recipe for making sure that we are taking advantage of the opportunities and meeting the challenges of the Middle East.”
Later in the debate Romney talked about his plan of action for Syria saying, “Working through our partners and with our own resources, to identify responsible parties within Syria, organize them, bring them together in a – in a form of – if not government, a form of – of – of council that can take the lead in Syria. And then make sure they have the arms necessary to defend themselves. We do need to make sure that they don’t have arms that get into the – the wrong hands. Those arms could be used to hurt us down the road. We need to make sure as well that we coordinate this effort with our allies, and particularly with – with Israel.”
He also attacked Obama’s lack of leadership in the issue when he said, “What I’m afraid of is we’ve watched over the past year or so, first the president saying, well we’ll let the U.N. deal with it. And Assad – excuse me, Kofi Annan came in and said we’re going to try to have a ceasefire. That didn’t work. Then it went to the Russians and said, let’s see if you can do something. We should be playing the leadership role there, not on the ground with military.”
The debate ended with the candidates’ closing arguments. Obama went first saying that over the last four years our nation has made progress out of policies that gave two wars, record deficits, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. He also said, “Governor Romney wants to take us back to those policies, a foreign policy that’s wrong and reckless, economic policies that won’t create jobs, won’t reduce our deficit, but will make sure that folks at the very top don’t have to play by the same rules that you do.”
Obama then added that he wants to build on America’s strengths and make sure that the US has the best education system in the world, along with developing the economy by bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. In his final words for the debate, the president promised to listen to the voices of Americans and fight to make sure that America continues to be the greatest nation on Earth.
Romney however criticized the current leadership and said, “The president’s path will mean continuing declining in take-home pay. I want to make sure take-home pay turns around and starts to grow. The president’s path means 20 million people out of work struggling for a good job. I’ll get people back to work with 12 million new jobs.”
He added that he wants to get people back to work and work heavily with democrats to come to agreements on policies between both parties. Romney also said that Washington is broken and that he knows what to do to get this country back. Finally he ended by saying, “We need strong leadership. I’d like to be that leader with your support. I’ll work with you. I’ll lead you in an open and honest way, and I ask for your vote. I’d like to be the next president of the United States to support and help this great nation and to make sure that we all together remain America as the hope of the Earth.”
According to various sources the final presidential debate is unlikely to sway many voters. With the election virtually tied in the poles, be sure to vote as every vote counts.