Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate (in Boca Raton, Florida)
Third and final Presidential debate, Oct. 22, 2012:
- Held at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.
- Moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News.
- Sponsored by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.
- 90 minutes on foreign policy topics.
- "Democracy Now!" aired a live commentary called Expanding the Debate, including two 3rd-party candidates, the Green Party's Jill Stein and the Justice Party's Rocky Anderson; focusing on how Obama and Romney agree on the Afghan War and other foreign policies.
- This debate was intended to stick to foreign policy, but the candidates often brought the topic back to domestic policy, despite the efforts of the moderator to stay on topic.
- Any president has an inherent advantage when debating foreign policy topics, because the president has been immersed in foreign policy for four years, while the challenger mostly just reads about foreign affairs in the newspapers -- especially so this year because Romney has never served in the Senate.
- Romney prepared heavily for this debate, and sounded like he had prepared heavily for this debate -- reciting esoteric facts about Mali and Pashtuns -- often sounding like a novice student who is excited at just having learned a new field. Romney sounded more comfortable and experienced when discussing the more standard topics such as China, Iran, Syria, and Libya. Overall, Romney accomplished his goal of not sounding like he would march the United States off to war.
- Romney presented a much more cautious viewpoint than in the past -- definitively stating that he would not send ground troops to Syria nor Iran, contrasting his past much more belligerent statements on those same countries (which Obama pointed out were a shift towards his own positions). Romney remained belligerent towards China (saying we're in a trade war already) and Russia (saying they are still a geopolitiical foe).
- Romney did make a couple of flubs, such as describing "crippling sanctions" against Iran as "peaceful dissuasion" against developing nuclear weapons. In fact, economic sanctions are an act of war under international law (they must be enforced by a navy, usually). And he head-scratchingly described Syria as Iran's "route to the sea," evidently not having been briefed on Iran's 800-mile coastline on the Persian Gulf and 300 miles on the Indian Ocean (that was RUSSIA who worried about a route to the sea, not IRAN). And Romney's attitude towards Russia sounded like he was still in the Cold War, but most of Europe feels that he is anyway.
- Obama and Romney do not differ dramatically on foreign policy stances, judging by this debate. That will displease partisans on both sides -- but particularly Obama's progressive supporters. Absent was any discussion of closing Guantanamo; of reducing collateral damage of drone strikes; or of actually REDUCING the military budget as opposed to just reducing its growth rate. Those topics were addressed only in the Third Party debate -- another argument why third party candidates should be included in the main debates.
- But in summary, Romney held his own in a forum in which Obama could have dominated Romney on the issues. Obama still "won" the debate, as expected, but it was not a crushing victory. At issue is whether Obama "won" by enough to reverse Romney's previous momentum -- the election is now just two weeks away!
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Budget & Economy|
Barack Obama: We neglect nation-building here when we nation-build abroad.
Barack Obama: After 10 years of war, it's time for nation-building at home.
Jill Stein: We're again bailing out Wall Street with quantitative easing.
Mitt Romney: We have a choice of two paths: Obama or prosperity.
Barack Obama: If we had let GM go bankrupt, we'd be buying Chinese cars.
Mitt Romney: I wanted to help the auto industry, not liquidate it.
Barack Obama: We reformed schools in 46 states, with their governors.
Mitt Romney: Teachers unions need to go behind parents & kids.
Mitt Romney: MA schools were #1 in the nation while I was governor.
Energy & Oil|
Jill Stein: Fight against climate change instead of fighting for oil.
Barack Obama: Libyans marching FOR America means we've been successful.
Barack Obama: Make sure both allies and enemies know where we stand.
Barack Obama: I stand by "time for Mubarak to go" in Egyptian Revolution.
Barack Obama: Every fact-checker concurs: I didn't apologize to Iran.
Barack Obama: Pivot to East Asia; America is a Pacific power.
Jill Stein: End Israeli apartheid occupations and illegal settlements.
Mitt Romney: With Arab Spring came hope; but we got disturbing events.
Mitt Romney: Russia is a geopolitical foe.
Mitt Romney: Indict Ahmadinejad for inciting genocide.
Mitt Romney: America hasn't dictated; we free nations from dictators.
Mitt Romney: I don't see our influence growing abroad; it is receding.
Mitt Romney: Condition aid to Pakistan on our benchmarks.
Rocky Anderson: Build relationships instead of imperialist foreign policy.
Barack Obama: China is an adversary but also a potential partner.
Gary Johnson: Hypocritical for US to attack China as currency manipulator.
Mitt Romney: Huge opportunity in Latin America; focus there, not China.
Mitt Romney: China wants a stable world too; we can partner with them.
Mitt Romney: China is winning in the trade war right now.
Jill Stein: Health insurance wastes 30%; Medicare only wastes only 3%.
Rocky Anderson: Congress caved in to the for-profit insurance industry.
Barack Obama: Don't give military money that they're not asking for.
Barack Obama: We have brought 9-11 planners to justice.
Jill Stein: Eliminate nuclear weapons in Middle East & whole world.
Jill Stein: Switch from bloated military to spending at home.
Mitt Romney: My strategy is: kill the bad guys, but also reject extremism.
Mitt Romney: We want a peaceful planet; but we need strength to do that.
Mitt Romney: Navy needs 313 ships; cutting to 200 is unacceptable.
Mitt Romney: Maintain capability to fight two wars at once.
Mitt Romney: Use of drones OK; but we need more than killing bad guys.
Mitt Romney: If I'm president, America will be VERY strong.
Rocky Anderson: Reduce our own nuclear weapons before we call on others to.
Rocky Anderson: Unneeded military programs to bring home bacon: It's treason.
Principles & Values|
Barack Obama: I want to build on our strengths; invest in America.
Mitt Romney: I know how to work across the aisle; did it in Massachusetts.
Barack Obama: Tax cuts won't help us compete with China; invest instead.
Rocky Anderson: Big tax cuts just cause more record deficits.
Barack Obama: World leadership via cutting-edge technology & workers.
Barack Obama: Military needs to think about space and cybersecurity.
War & Peace|
Barack Obama: We organized world community to agree that Assad has to go.
Barack Obama: I will stand with Israel if they are attacked.
Barack Obama: Key to Iranian sanctions was world's involvement.
Barack Obama: Supported "Iron Dome" defense shield for Israel.
Barack Obama: We had forgotten why we went into Afghanistan.
Jill Stein: Blowback across Middle East due to our immoral war policy.
Jill Stein: Stop the flow of arms to Syria on both sides.
Mitt Romney: We can't kill our way out of the mess in the Islamic world.
Mitt Romney: Coordinated investment in Middle East to shift from jihad.
Mitt Romney: Syria is humanitarian disaster; arm the rebels.
Mitt Romney: No military involvement in Syria; work with our allies.
Mitt Romney: US should have supported 2009 Green Revolution in Iran.
Mitt Romney: Dissuade Iran from nukes by peaceful means, like sanctions.
Mitt Romney: Paksitani Pashtuns will rush to Afghan Taliban when we leave.
Rocky Anderson: We're a bully in the Mideast; no wonder they don't like us.
Rocky Anderson: Work with Russia on peaceful resolution in Syria.
Rocky Anderson: Crippling sanctions hurt the people of Iran who sympathize.
The above quotations are from Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate (in Boca Raton, Florida).
2012 Presidential General Election:
- Third and final Obama-Romney debate, Oct. 22, 2012
- Second Obama-Romney debate, Oct. 16, 2012
- Biden-Ryan V.P. debate, Oct. 11, 2012
- First Obama-Romney debate, Oct. 3, 2012
- Obama-Romney Univision Interviews, Sept. 19, 2012
- Obama-Romney Science Debate, Sept. 4, 2012
- 2012 Presidential General Election Archives
- 2011 Presidential Primary Archives
- GOP Primary Debates, 2011-2012
- Presidential website excerpts