Presidential Debate Schedule – Election Central
Obama and Romney are set to meet Oct. 3 for their first debate. will be identical to the first presidential debate and will focus on foreign policy. Final US presidential debate: Obama and Romney on foreign policy - as it happened If you can bear it, there's a full transcript of the debate right here. .. bringing everyone together in Syria, holding meetings and so on. President Barack Obama met his challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. . It's no wonder the debate seemed to veer away from foreign policy.
Obama bested Romney on foreign policy, but economy looms as larger issue Timothy Stanley: Debate a draw; Obama won on substance; Romney was presidential Donna Brazile: Obama looked presidential; Romney seemed out of his depth President Barack Obama met his challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. CNN contributors and analysts offered these assessments of the evening: Last night, at the third and final Presidential Debate, it was Mitt Romney who took a lesson from the talented Arkansas politician.
At the Democratic Convention, Barack Obama borrowed a boatload of political capital from the still popular former-president. Clinton painted Obama as a centrist and reformer who was moving the country forward. He graciously overlooked Obama's record as a big-spender who had revived "the era of big government" that Clinton himself had ended. Last night, however, it was Romney who benefited from Clinton's experience. I was once among the Republicans who misspent two years trying to stop Bill Clinton from winning re-election.
We called Clinton a flip-flopping shape-shifter, opportunistically triangulating towards the center. We expected voters to be horrified that Clinton was "stealing Republican ideas. They prized the politician who was responsive. They liked Clinton more when we pointed out he wasn't an ideological extremist but a flexible leader moving toward the middle.
Our attacks conveyed the opposite of our intended message. We were unknowingly telling voters, "You can trust Clinton to do what you want. He's not a radical He's listening to you. Now you are saying that the guy you've spent millions labeling a zealot and clone of George Bush is too practical, pragmatic and centrist? Obama won the final debate on points but Romney grew, too. He passed the Commander in Chief test. We saw a credible replacement for this President.
The fundamentals remain unchanged: This country believes it is on the wrong track. It wants a new direction.
Watch the Full Third and Final Presidential Debate
Mitt Romney has become an acceptable alternative. Last night his strategy was to make change safe. The Mitt Romney I know is a severely conservative man whose principles are grounded in his faith and his family. That core is surrounded by a practical, pragmatic businessman who fixes things others can't.
Live by the Clinton, die by the Clinton. Follow him on Twitter: Romney on the ropes John Avlon Obama won the third and final debate with a strong and decisive performance that left Romney on the ropes. But clear victories in the second and third debates won't entirely undo the damage the president did himself in the first debate, which reignited this race.
Romney's debate orders seem to have been "do no harm" -- and so he tried hard not to offend, embracing the Obama administration on issues ranging from the Afghanistan surge and withdrawal date to the success of the Iran sanctions despite months of dire saber-rattling rhetoric.
Obama loses advantage in foreign policy ahead of tonight’s debate with Romney
At the same time, Romney seemed careful to distance himself from the Bush administration's unilateral approach, leaving neocons frustrated and searching for specifics. This was Romney as a multilateral internationalist, looking to the United Nations in search of peace and distancing himself from pre-emptive action. The problem, of course, is that this version Romney is sharply at odds with the Romney we've seen running for president over the past five years.
He's hoping that detail won't distract from his appeal. There is no logical connection between the before and after policies except Romney's consistent ambition and willingness to say whatever is necessary at any given juncture to achieve the presidency. He seemed confused at times trying to explain the contradictions. Obama, on the other hand, showed up feisty and ready to fight, turning his attention to Romney and drawing quick and clear contrasts -- precisely the moves that were missing in the first devastating debate.
Obama was almost hawkish in comparison to Romney, who was busy trying to secure his internationalist bona fides. Foreign policy has been an unexpected area of success for the president, and he consistently showed his assuredness, chiding Romney for a lack of consistency that he said would send mixed signals to our allies and enemies alike.
Romney's repeated agreement with Obama strategies when pressed for specifics only added credibility to the claims. Both candidates constantly tried to veer off topic in an attempt to talk about the economy and domestic policy whenever possible. Obama's obviously coached returns to a call for "nation-building at home" must poll particularly well. But the absence of any defenders of the Bush doctrine just four years after it ruled the world spoke to something like a consensus -- those policies did not leave the country longing for a return.
And Obama's record in winding down two polarizing wars and ratcheting up the pressure on al Qaeda with deadly surgical strikes that killed bin Laden and others has proven both less costly and more effective. He made that case in clear, compelling and unflinching terms in the third and final debate. At least in terms of belated agreement from Romney, it is a policy debate Obama seems to have won on substance. He is co-editor of the book "Deadline Artists: America's Greatest Newspaper Columns.
Will Obama's greater command move needle? The president slept through the first debate, and Mitt Romney creamed him; Obama bested Romney in the second; and in the third, the president demonstrated a much greater command of the material and the stage.
But it's not entirely clear it's going to matter. Forget the meat of foreign policy. Romney did two things that will help his case.
He offered the prospect of safe change if he is elected and was presidential enough on foreign policy, an issue that had played to the president's strength. Unlike in the first and even second debates, where Romney seemed confident and forceful, he seemed ill at ease, indeed somewhat nervous and out of sorts.
The split screen is a killer, and the expression on the governor's face was somewhere between queasy and retiring -- it didn't suggest confidence and authority. Aaron David Miller Obama by contrast was comfortable, forceful and commanding, at times aggressive. Still, if Romney was trying to soften his image and convince independents that he wasn't going to conduct a martial foreign policy, his less aggressive, retiring, lower-key manner may have helped On the question of what Romney would have done differently than the president: This was potentially Romney's greatest source of strength and weakness.
And it turned out to be the latter. Instead of identifying real areas of vulnerability, Romney failed to make the case that his policies on Syria, Iran, even Israel would be substantially different. Still, if the goal was to offer up moderate, centrist foreign policies to reassure independents, he may have scored a few points.
In the end, foreign policy doesn't matter: The chattering classes notwithstanding, this election will be decided not by Libya or Iran but by which candidate is perceived to be able to turn the economy around.
Obama won the debate hands down on substance, but it's not at all clear he won the politics. The next two weeks will tell. Follow him on Twitter. Romney echoed Obama policies Frida Ghitis Those who specialize in measuring a debate's impact on voters will look for clues about who gained the most from the latest debate. For those of us looking for the foreign policy views of the candidates, the Boca Raton joust confirmed what we suspected for many months. The similarities greatly outweigh the differences.
On foreign affairs, the election is not a Gore-Bush, or a Bush-Kerry contest, in which American policies would have experienced significantly different outcomes after the election. The two candidates agree on most of the major issues facing the country in the world's hot spots. This reflects the fact that the choices are difficult, and they will be for whoever is sworn in next January, and America's interests and priorities will not change significantly after the election.
The major contrast is not in the specifics but in the way the two portray each other and, potentially, the way each would walk on the world stage.
Obama and Romney clash in spiky debate - BBC News
Romney says Obama has made America appear weak. But once in office he will find the same obstacles to American power. He supported the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and the candidates fought each other over which one is more supportive of Israel. On Iraq, Obama accused Romney of wanting to keep troops in Iraq, when, in fact, Obama also wanted to keep a residual force. Obama got in some hashtag-worthy zingers, most notably when he mocked Romney's contention that the U.
The president shot back that "we also have fewer horses and bayonets. We have these things called aircraft carriers. It's no wonder the debate seemed to veer away from foreign policy, back to the familiar territory of economics, where the distinctions are sharp and the potential for harvesting more votes is greater.
I joked on Twitter that if you had a split screen of randomly selected Arabs watching, they'd probably be beyond confusion. To begin with, Romney's foreign policy message crumbled under the weight of its own contradictions.
In his October 8 speech on the Middle East, he echoed the Bush "freedom agenda" in calling for a more proactive approach to democracy promotion. But his first response on the Arab Spring suggested an exclusively security-oriented approach, with a region reduced to violence, terrorism and "tumult. But the fact that Islamist parties tend to win free elections has rendered "neoconservatism" incoherent.
It is simply impossible to support democracy, on one hand, and oppose the rise of Islamists on the other. For his part, Obama was steady and in command for the entirety of the discussion.
Perhaps this means he "won. Of course, that's not necessarily what televised debates are for. But the almost unanimous bipartisan support for drone attacks -- with no mention of the cost in innocent lives or how they turn Arabs and Muslims against us -- is a sign of a constrained and shortsighted foreign policy discourse.
The discussions on Iran and Israel were predictable, with little of note being offered. There was no real discussion of how to make progress on Arab-Israeli peace, a long-term powder keg if there ever was one. Romney, meanwhile, attacked Obama for "apologizing" to the Muslim world. Obama vehemently denied this.
In a different world, he would have said that there is, in principle, nothing wrong with apologizing, particularly if you have something to apologize for.
In a different world, an admission of past failures -- and how to avoid them in the future -- would be a sign not of weakness but of strength. But that, for now at least, is not the world we live in. Romney lost the debate, but won the debates Will Cain Unwilling to disagree from the left, unable to find meaningful disagreement to the right, Mitt Romney chose to agree with President Barack Obama on Monday night.
In the process he lost the debate, but not the debates. Eighty percent of the available criticism of Obama's foreign policy existed to the left of the president. Romney, though, was not going to question Obama over the due process rights of American citizens targeted for assassination, such as Anwar al-Awlaki.
Romney was not going to call Libya an illegal war by pointing out the lack of congressional approval for military intervention. Interestingly, though, Romney did not try to fit himself into the percent of available space to the right of Obama either. He didn't question Obama about the administration's explanations for the attacks in Benghazi.
He didn't criticize the numerous national security leaks from Stuxnet to kill lists. Instead, Romney chose to position himself alongside Obama.
Psaki, the Obama spokeswoman, said that the Obama campaign felt the discussion of Libya in the previous debate, at Hofstra, "was one of our best moments. It's an audacious move, given that Romney had opposed federal assistance during the bankruptcy process, which observers of the industry say would have quickly led to liquidation of General Motors and Chrysler. Romney insisted he had supported federal help during bankruptcy for the auto industry. Romney's strategy to agree with Obama as much as possible on foreign policy left him unable to attack one of the president's weakest points, the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
Obama's post-election surge of troops has done remarkably little to bring the war closer to an end, calling the entire strategy into question. But now that Obama has announced the eventual withdrawal of troops -- a withdrawal Romney has at turns opposed and supported -- Romney had little entry to challenge him. While Romney has previously said it is unwise to lay out a timetable for withdrawal -- a position Paul Ryan repeated at the most recent vice presidential debate -- he embraced one Monday night.
The commanders and the generals there are on track to do so," Romney said, following with effusive praise of Obama's handling of the war. The surge has been successful and the training program is proceeding apace. So our troops will come home at that point. John Sununu, a Romney surrogate, citing the defense budget as one example.
Why waste your time on it?