Last night, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney met in their third and final encounter this election cycle, sparing on US foreign policy issues.
The debate, which was moderated by CBS’ Bob Schieffer, took place last night at Lynn University, located in Boco Raton, Fla., a crucial swing state in this year’s election. The two candidates were asked questions ranging from trade relations with China to the potential instability in Pakistan.
However, much of the discussion between both men was focused around the Middle East, in particular Iran, Israel and Afghanistan.
In regards to Iran and their continuing nuclear ambitions, both Obama and Romney said they would do everything it takes, including military intervention, to prevent the nation from finishing development of a nuclear warhead.
However, Romney criticized the President for weakening the country’s partnership with Israel, pointing out that the current Commander in Chief had yet to visit the country during his current term in office. The Republican challenger also said that America’s presence around the world has diminished since Obama was sworn into office, claiming that the Democrat has been “apologetic” to other nations rather than standing more firm in the US’ diplomatic relations.
Obama fiercely fired back against his opponent’s statements, saying that he has never once apologized for America’s actions during the previous George W. Bush administration, and that the country’s relationship with Israel is as strong as ever.
Romney wasn’t the only candidate who came out swinging last night, though. The President attacked the former governor’s proposed increase in military spending. He was especially scathing in his remarks toward Romney’s plans to increase the number of ships in the US Navy, claiming that the deployment of aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines obviates the need for a overall increase in warships.
While the questions posed to the candidates were focused on international affairs, Obama and Romney snaked in opportunities to reiterate their domestic policies, with both continuing to assert their commitment to increase job creation if elected.
Here’s some of the headlines around the web following the contest last night:
According to snap poll conducted by CNN shortly after the conclusion of the debate, 48 percent of viewers believed that Obama had defeated Romney, with 40 percent believing the Republican won. The gap between the two sides was even more pronounced among women watchers, with a greater portion proclaiming Obama to be the winner over Romney.
Obama’s performance last night left a much more favorable taste in voters mouths than during his first debate this year, on Oct. 8th. In CNN’s poll after that event, 67 percent of viewers thought that Romney won out over his rival, with only 25 percent choosing Obama.
Despite his strong performance last night, Obama still lags behind Romney, according to national poll average compiled by Real Clear Politics. The site shows the Republican candidate holding a narrow .9 percent lead over the President. Polls by Gallup and Rassmussen Reports showing the most dramatic leads for Romney, of 5 percent and 4 percent respectively.
However, many of these polls were being conducted before last night’s event, so it’s possible that Obama could see a noticeable bump in polling numbers in the coming days.
Video from last night’s debate
For those who missed last night’s encounter, The New York Times has the complete video of the event, which can be found below: