In the third and final debate of the 2012 election Romney was still speechifying but more subdued and conciliatory about the state of foreign affairs. He still made wide generalizations like Obama had not handled the Arab Spring in the Mid East well, but offered no concrete solutions other than to say he would offer the new regimes support. Obama countered that was exactly what he was doing and that he had decimated the leader ship of al-Qaida. Romney pointed out that there were al-Qaida organizations in Somalia, Yemen, Mali, Libya and other places in the Mid-East that needed to be dealt with. Obama detailed the American response to these small but dangerous terrorist off shoots by assisting the governments where they existed.

Romney continued to seize every opportunity to speechify and give blustering statements whenever possible making gross over statements or misstatements that we needed more money for defense and that he would create 12 million new jobs and cut taxes to 20 per cent. Obama laid out why it was impossible to cut taxes by five trillion dollars and spend an additional two trillion for defense, not asked for, and still balance the budget and pay down the debt.

Overall Obama’s response to the moderator’s topics was more measured and direct, with less bombast and bluster than Romney.

But this time Romney was less aggressive and less prone to making exaggerations and prevarications. It was as if he was out to preserve his bump in the polls that resulted from the first debate where his aggressive behavior seemed to work. Obama kept hammering on his tax cuts and defense spending and what it would do to the detriment of education and spending for medical and scientific research.

Romney said he would designate China a currency manipulator the first day in office to show them we will not tolerate their unfair trade practices. Of course this would be a serious charge usually not lightly made with serious consequences that would sour our relations with China, our greatest creditor, maybe beyond repair.

Many times Obama looked at Romney in exasperation over his wild and untrue statements like when Romney said Obama had been too soft and waited too long to tighten sanctions on Iran. Obama said it took a lot of work to get countries like Russia and China to join in the sanctions and when they did the sanctions caused a huge decrease in Iranian oil exports and caused their inflation rate to rise to unsustainable levels. This was never accomplished under the Bush Administration and now that it has been accomplished it was working.  Obama stated that all cards were still on the table including military action, but  first he would exhaust sanctions and other diplomatic measures with Iran. He clearly said he would not permit Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

Throughout the night Romney would make wild assertions and Obama would rebut them by the facts or show how Romney had changed his position multiple times or was lying about the facts. This didn’t seem to bother Romney who would go on to the next subject in the same manner. Apparently he believes if you make untrue statements before a large enough audience some of it will stick. There were 59.2 million viewers for this debate versus 65.5 million for the second and 67 million for the first.


Bob  Schieffer was a prudent moderator and kept the debate on track but Romney was always asking for more time to reiterate his points contrary to the rules.

Overall Obama came across as the most level headed basing his assertions on the facts and Romney  continued to be a wild man making assertions and accusations that were  not supported by the facts. However most of the audience may not know the underlying facts or that some facts were in dispute.

Overall Obama made the best impression as a responsible man.

Further it seems, given Romney’s attitude and conduct, it is wrong to call these meetings debates in the classical sense. Often the questions were ignored or briefly alluded to and then the candidate would segue in to into defense or jobs in the case of Romney and woman’s health care, Medicare or green energy in the case of Obama. Little was said about Global Climate Warming or the problems of the real estate market.

Overall the debates probably were more beneficial to Romney than to Obama in the sense of exposure. The President was well known to all American’s before the debates Romney not so much. This is always the case in most debates involving and incumbent and a challenger.  Whether Romney will be viewed as a rogue, fool or a serious man with a viable plan will be up to the voters.



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