2012 Election: Final Debate Recap

It’s a wrap on the presidential debates! Last night’s third and final debate took place at Lynn University and focused on foreign policy.

Maybe it was moderator Bob Schieffer, or perhaps it was the seated format, but this debate seemed more civil than the last.

The debate covered a range of foreign policy issues, and some off-topic domestic discussions as well. Perhaps surprisingly, Libya was not debated in detail throughout the night.

Given the foreign policy topic, the president debated as Commander-in-Chief and was quick to note Governor Romney has not presided over foreign policy decisions. President Obama reiterated that his first job as Commander in Chief is to ensure the safety of the American people, and he has been successful at doing so throughout his first term, the killing of Osama bin Laden being an example of this.

With a presidential campaign so focused on the economy, it was interesting to hear the candidates’ positions on all foreign policy, but especially on Afghanistan, where we still have a military presence. Governor Romney said if elected president, he would complete a military draw-down in Afghanistan in 2014.

The President denied the notion of the US having discussions with Iran regarding its nuclear capabilities and plans, which is contrary to a recent New York Times article suggesting a meeting would take place in the future. The New York Times is standing by the story.*

Throughout the debate both candidates emphasized their support of Israel and its importance as an ally.

The economy came up a few times in the debate; Governor Romney underlined the importance and effect of a strong or weak economy on foreign policy by noting Admiral Mullen, former chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s belief that the US’s debt is its biggest security threat.

In response to what each candidate believes to be the greatest future threat to the United States, President Obama replied terrorist networks; while Governor Romney replied an Iran with nuclear capabilities is America’s greatest security threat.

In his closing statement, the President promised to always listen to Americans if re-elected; Governor Romney vowed to work with both political parties for the best interests of the country, if elected.

Given the presidential campaign’s focus on the economy, it will be interesting to see if this foreign policy debate affects the polls in any way.

The debates have covered a vast amount of topics in the last few weeks. Hopefully, you’ve used the debates as an opportunity to decide whom you will vote for, or, they solidified the decision you had already made.  Now that you’re informed, be sure you know where your polling place is on Election Day and get out to VOTE!

*Source: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/10/obama-ny-times-iran-report-not-true-139253.html?hp=l2

Questions for discussion:
Are you glad the debates are over?
Who do you think “won” last night’s debate?
Do you think the president had an edge, given that only presidents have experience in foreign policy decision-making?
Will the candidates’ foreign policy positions play a role in deciding who you vote for?
Which moderator of the 4 debates do you believe was the best?
Which debate was your favorite and why?

carrie pastor
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