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October 22, 2012

Reaction to the Third Presidential Debate

The third and final presidential debate was President Obama's best moment in the campaign so far. He was prepared on every issue and knew Mitt Romney's record of past statements just as well.

Obama succeeded because he conveyed his unique view of the world from the Oval Office. For undecided voters watching, all they probably heard was that he's the commander-in-chief. And that's what Team Obama wanted.

For the most part, Romney made an effort to look presidential by not attacking. He was exceedingly careful and desperately tried not to make a mistake. In fact, despite his rhetoric for the last two years, he now apparently agrees with most of the Obama administration's foreign policy.

As a result, Romney's biggest opponent was not the president, it was his own words. Obama did a brilliant job of bringing up past Romney statements -- on Iraq, on the nation's biggest adversary, on Afghanistan, on Osama bin Laden -- to make him look unprepared for the presidency.

As the debate went on, Romney tried many times to move the international affairs discussion back to the economy where he was more comfortable. It was as if he had only 30 minutes of foreign policy talking points for a 90 minute debate. As a result he seemed to string together random thoughts which often made him sound incoherent.

Obama won the debate hands down.

Bob Schieffer started off doing a good job as moderator, framing questions but still letting the candidates engage each other. But he lost control of the debate as both Romney and Obama often preferred to talk about the economy. It's clear that both candidates know that most voters don't care much about foreign policy.


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