President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney met on Monday night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. for the final of three presidential debates.
Even though the topic of the debate was foreign policy, both candidates routinely skidded away from the foreign policy question and instead gave responses that dealt with domestic policy and the economy.
“You know, under my leadership, what we’ve done is reformed education, working with governors, 46 states,” Obama said. “We’ve seen progress and gains in schools that were having a terrible time, and they’re starting to finally make progress.”
When they did get back to foreign policy, major subjects of debate included Iranian nuclear development, China as a rising global power, the war in Afghanistan and cooperation with Pakistan.
“It’s also essential for us to understand what our mission is in Iran, and that is to dissuade Iran from having a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means,” Romney said, referring to his strategy for Iran.
Mark Galeotti, the academic chair of the Center for Global Affairs, said even though Romney made good points on Iran, they were no different from Obama’s agenda.
“To be honest, I think Obama won that point in a sense that Romney was willing to talk tough but really had no practical answers as to what he would do differently,” Galeotti said.
The candidates also vowed to draw a strict line with China.
“That’s why on day one I will label them a currency manipulator which allows us to apply tariffs where they’re taking jobs,” Romney said. “They have to understand, we want to trade with them, we want a world that’s stable, we like free enterprise, but you got to play by the rules.”
But Everett Myers, a professor of Finance, Law and Taxation at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs, advised against that strategy.
“I think that is not … an appropriate policy, day one, for the President of the United States,” Myers said.
Christine Harrington, an NYU professor of politics, gave the overall victory to Obama.
“President Obama had such deeper knowledge in comparison to Romney,” she said. “He was very clear on what was going on and spoke at a certain level of depth. Romney, in my view, was really just treading water and quite frequently repeating what Obama said, and often going against what he himself has been running on for.”
John Gershman, associate professor of public service at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Services, agreed.
“I think Obama totally wiped the floor with him,” Gershman said. “Arguably in substance in the first debate, Obama and Romney were relatively similar but in style Obama clearly lost. In this debate, Obama won both in style and substance.” LSP freshman Zachory Nowosadzki, however, tallied it as a draw.
“This debate seemed to go pretty even between Obama and Romney,” he said. “Both of them said the same things about most of the important issues like Iran and Israel and the differences they had felt slight.”
Additional reporting by Andrew Karpan, Kevin Burns, Margaret Eby, Tricia Lin and Joon Lee. Nicole Brown is a deputy city/state editor. Tony Chau is city/state editor. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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