Obama wins round 3
HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 10/25/2012, 12:34 p.m.
Picking up where he left off at Hofstra University in the second debate, President Barack Obama punished Mitt Romney with a bevy of facts, turning his adversary into an opponent more willing to agree than put up a fight.
It was expected that Obama would practically vanquish Romney on foreign policy in this final debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., and such was the case, though a knockout blow was forestalled by a Romney clutching for straws, if not overcoming Obama with agreement. Some of the agreement between them was fostered on Romney by Obama's tactical language, as when they were discussing al Qaeda.
"Governor Romney," Obama began, "I'm glad that you agree that we have been successful in going after al Qaeda, but I have to tell you that ... your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map and is not designed to keep Americans safe or to build on the opportunities that exist in the Middle East."
The operative phrase here is "all over the map," and it was in response to Romney not having any thorough knowledge about any one thing, although there was a glimmer of insight during his opening remarks on China. However, even on this topic, Obama quickly bested him.
"China is both an adversary but also a potential partner in the international community if it's following the rules," the president explained. "So my attitude coming into office was that we are going to insist that China plays by the same rules as everybody else."
Obama's comments on China were a perfect segue into a jab about jobs being shipped overseas and American businesses and workers not getting a level playing field when it came to trade. Whether he intended it or not, it was also a nice bouquet to workers in Ohio--a key battleground state that Romney must carry if he's to have even a remote chance of defeating Obama in electoral votes.
The president's only noticeable flub came on this same point when he was referring to steelworkers in Ohio and throughout the Midwest. "We had a tire case in which they [China] were flooding us with cheap domestic tires, ur, cheap Chinese tires."
Romney, scrambling to find an international edge, perhaps gained a bit of traction when they discussed the status of the Navy. "Our Navy is old," he asserted, "excuse me, our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We're now ... under 285. We're headed down to the low 200s ... that's unacceptable to me. I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy."
The governor was obviously pandering to the shipyards of Virginia, which, with its 13 electoral votes, is among the most sought-after of the swing states.
Neither of them mentioned Palestine when talking about the standoff between Iran and Israel or the two-state solution. Obama deftly parried Romney's assertion that he had "skipped Israel" during his foreign tour in 2008, indicating the places he had visited, including the Holocaust museum at Yad Vashem and the border town of Sderot.