Democratic President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney went head-to-head last night for the final time before the election on November 6th, in the third TV debate in Boca Raton, Florida.
Obama is thought to have narrowly defeated Romney in the debate on foreign policy after accusing the Republican of “flip flopping” on major international issues.
The President had the tactical advantage over the former Governor of Massachusetts as he had daily briefings and intelligence reports for the past four years; Romney, by comparison, was strangely under-confident as he occasionally stumbled over his briefing notes.
Obama attacked Romney for his support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and his opposition to a timetable of withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying:
“What we need to do with respect to the Middle East is strong, steady leadership, not wrong and reckless leadership that is all over the map and unfortunately that’s the kind of opinions that you’ve offered throughout this campaign. It is not a recipe for American strength, or keeping America safe over the long haul.“
Despite both candidates having a similar position to most modern day foreign policy issues, Romney insisted he would “demonstrate America’s strength” more than Obama had.
“Nowhere in the world is our influence greater than it was four years ago.”
This close to election day, commentators said the result of the debate will not affect the outcome too much as many voters have already made up their minds.
The Guardian reported:
“With a growing sense in the Republican camp that the White House might just be within reach after all, Romney appeared happy to settle for a safe, gaffe-free performance in which his main goal was to reassure the US public that he was not a warmonger.”
However, The Washington Post said Romney was a clear loser in the debate as:
“Romney clearly decided to play it safe in this debate – whether because he thought he was ahead and will win if he doesn’t screw up or because he knows that foreign policy isn’t his strong suit. But, as NFL teams (re)learn every year, playing the prevent defence almost never works. Romney was constantly trying to parry Obama attacks; he knocked some down but plenty got through too.”