Obama forcefully tears apart the bewildered shell of Mitt Romney in third and final debate on foreign policy

People came away from the last presidential debate not talking about Romney’s commanding presence, but his gaffs. What had people talking the next day, as they stood around the coffee pot at work, wasn’t a clever zinger that the successful dismantler of companies had made about Obama’s hatred of capitalism, but Romney’s nonsensical and offensive statements concerning the “binders full of women” that he’d been given as Governor, and the fact that, in his mind, single mothers are to blame for the gun violence that plagues America. And, as a result, his momentum slowed considerably. And it didn’t help that Obama, having been criticized for his lackluster performance up to that point in the campaign, began to up his game. The President went on the offensive, aggressively pointing out Romney’s lies, and coining new, focus group-approved phrases, like Romnesia. Romney, as a result, started to see his advances in swing states like Ohio evaporate, and would-be allies turn away. Even the Salt Lake City Tribune, the largest Mormon paper in the U.S., came out in support of Obama a few days ago, saying that Romney’s agenda “remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.” So, Romney needed a decisive win in tonight’s foreign policy debate. Sadly, though, that didn’t happen. Instead, a dazed and confused Romney stumbled his way though, from start to finish, like someone desperately wanting for this whole sad affair to be over.

For those of you who missed the debate, here’s the video… I think you’ll especially like the part where Obama says, “Yes, we have fewer ships than 1916. We also have fewer horses and bayonets.”

The entire transcript can be found by following this link, but here’s a clip:

OBAMA: Governor Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that Al Qaida is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not Al Qaida; you said Russia… the 1980 are calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.

But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.

You say that you’re not interested in duplicating what happened in Iraq. But, just a few weeks ago, you said you think we should have more troops in Iraq right now. And the — the challenge we have — I know you haven’t been in a position to actually execute foreign policy — but every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong. You said we should have gone into Iraq, despite that fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction. You said that we should still have troops in Iraq to this day. You indicated that we shouldn’t be passing nuclear treaties with Russia despite the fact that 71 senators, Democrats and Republicans, voted for it. You said that, first, we should not have a timeline in Afghanistan. Then you said we should. Now you say maybe, or it depends, which means not only were you wrong, but you were also confusing in sending mixed messages both to our troops and our allies.

So, what — what we need to do with respect to the Middle East is strong, steady leadership, not wrong and reckless leadership that is all over the map. And unfortunately, that’s the kind of opinions that you’ve offered throughout this campaign, and it is not a recipe for American strength, or keeping America safe over the long haul…

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14 Comments

  1. Posted October 23, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I only read the debate (no bandwidth at home, can’t watch it).

    I felt really bad for Romney in the end.

  2. anon
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    If I came from Mars and didn’t know anything about American politics before watching the “debate,” I’d think that Mitt Romney was an irate zillionaire with Alzheimer’s, and Barack Obama an investment banker with a passion for killing Arabs.

  3. Meta
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Romney: “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.”

    Romney (two minutes later): “Well, my strategy is pretty straightforward, which is to go after the bad guys, to make sure we do our very best to interrupt them, to — to kill them, to take them out of the picture.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/2012-presidential-debate-president-obama-and-mitt-romneys-remarks-at-lynn-university-on-oct-22-running-transcript/2012/10/22/be8899d6-1c7a-11e2-9cd5-b55c38388962_story_2.html

  4. Edward
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I don’t know that debates matter much, as most people have already made up their minds by this point, but I’m encouraged by the fact that an overwhelming percentage of those watching last night felt that Obama won decisively.

    @CBSNews BREAKING: CBS NEWS INSTANT POLL Who won the #Debate? OBAMA: 53%; ROMNEY: 23%, TIE: 24% (Margin of Error: 4%; Sample Size: 521)

  5. Knox
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Best spin award goes to Ann Coulter.

    Romney wasn’t weak in the third debate, according to Coulter. He was just being “kind and gentle to the retard.”

    https://twitter.com/AnnCoulter/status/260581147493412865

  6. Knox
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Also, Obama must have had that “horses and bayonets” line up his sleeve. Shortly after the debate wrapped, his team launched CavalryMenForRomney.com

    http://cavalrymenforromney.com/

  7. David Lynch
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Dear Americans, Republicans, and Democrats Alike,

    I am going to vote for re-electing President Obama. I have noticed something in Mitt Romney’s name, which I think speaks to what he is about. If you just rearrange a few letters, Romney becomes R MONEY. I believe Mitt Romney wants to get his Mitts on R Money. He would like to get it and divide it up with his friends, the Big Money Bunch.

    I believe he would like to get his Mitts on R Money, R Resources, R Freedoms, and R American Dream. I do not trust Mitt Romney to look after the best interests of 99% of Americans. I think electing Mitt Romney would be a catastrophe for our country—one which would be real difficult to straighten out later. Please do not let Mitt Romney get his Mitts on R Money or R United States of America.

    —DAVID LYNCH
    Los Angeles, California

  8. Jennifer
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    @Knox – It looks like cavalrymenforromney.com is just mapped to the President’s main website, barackobama.com… It probably took a couple campaign workers about 5-10 minutes to register that domain and put up a splash page that routes to the content on barackobama.com. They probably had it up before the debate was even over.

    Pretty funny though, as much as I find election years totally stressful I am loving how much the internet has come to play a part in it :)

  9. Elf
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Fox News is defending Romney in that exchange, saying that we do still use bayonettes, which I think is kind of besides the point.

  10. Meta
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    The overtly conservative LA Times covered the debate:

    Monday’s presidential debate, the third and last between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney, featured a forceful and articulate defense of Obama’s foreign policy. That was no surprise. What was surprising was that it came from Romney.

    That seemed to annoy the president — who was prepared to rebut his opponent’s previous, more bellicose pronouncements. But the ever-shifting Republican nominee tacked even closer to the moderate middle than he did in the debate devoted to economic policy.

    Once Romney intimated that he might keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan past NATO’s 2014 deadline. No more. Now he agrees with Obama that it is feasible to transfer combat responsibilities to the Afghans by that point. On Iran, Romney emphasized economic sanctions rather than the threat of a military attack, effectively endorsing Obama’s approach. On Syria, Romney disappointed some of his neoconservative supporters by forswearing direct U.S. military intervention or the establishment of a no-fly zone. There was no call for returning U.S. forces to Iraq, though Romney continued to accuse Obama of bungling negotiations aimed at keeping a small residual force there.

    They also endorsed Obama for President.

    Read more:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/endorsements/
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-debate-20121023,0,2131672.story

  11. Meta
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    FWIW, Paul Ryan says he ‘doesn’t understand’ Obama’s reference to bayonets .

    http://m.usatoday.com/article/news/1651323?preferredArticleViewMode=single

  12. Bob
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    In what way did Obama tear Romney apart? The polls seem to suggest little movement. A new ABC/Washington Post poll actually has Mitt up a point on Obama. I spend a lot of time on the road and my own non-scientific observation is that there are far more Romney signs than Obama ones. There are also a vast number of signs for protecting religious freedoms, and other conservative issues and candidates. It certainly seems to be more significant than the support for McCain last time.

    Maybe Obama supporters are less inclined to show enthusiasm this time around. It certainly feels like enthusiasm is much lower, in large part because of the presidents own lack of passion. I’m pretty worried that he’s going to lose to that creep.

  13. Knox
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    A response to Ann Coulter from John Franklin Stephens, a man with Down syndrome.

    Dear Ann Coulter,

    Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

    I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

    I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.

    Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.

    Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.

    Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more.

    After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.

    I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.

    Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.

    No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.

    Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.

    A friend you haven’t made yet, John Franklin Stephens
    Global Messenger
    Special Olympics Virginia

  14. Pearhead.
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Enjoy the dog and pony show!
    Meanwhile, people who really care about the country and human rights and oppose endless war are voting third party.
    Although if R Money wins it will be cool and fun to protest war again!

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