Oklahomans notice topics absent from debate
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer & RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
10/23/12 at 7:09 AM
Related Story: Obama, Romney face off on foreign policy
Read all the election coverage.
Monday night's presidential debate on foreign policy covered a lot of ground - and sometimes wandered rather far afield - but also had at least one obvious omission, two foreign policy experts with Tulsa ties said.
"The biggest surprise for me is that there was not a single word about the Eurozone crisis," said former University of Tulsa President Robert Donaldson. "That is an enormous gap for me. When you look at where American economic interests and military interests are, that's very surprising."
Former 1st District U.S. Rep. James R. Jones expressed a similar sentiment.
Jones said the discussion was concentrated on national security issues in the Middle East and southern Asia, which are important, but largely left out discussions of Latin America, India and the economic crisis in Europe.
While Donaldson and Jones would have liked more discussion of economic issues, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., praised Republican candidate Mitt Romney for attacking President Barack Obama on defense and national security.
"Romney's vision is optimistic, and it is clear that he will provide leadership, a strong defense, and will diligently support our allies," said Inhofe. "Romney showed he will make a better commander-in-chief.
"Obama, on the other hand, has an abysmal foreign policy record," Inhofe said.
Donaldson, now a TU political science professor who specializes in international politics, said Romney tried to pull back from earlier statements that were critical of Obama.
"Moderate Mitt showed up," said Donaldson. "There was far more agreement on specific issues and far more endorsement of the policies Obama has pursued than in the past. There was not even that much difference on China. That would have made for a pretty mundane discussion if Obama had not brought up the Mitt Romney who's been on the campaign trail."
Jones said the "change point" in the debate came when Obama successfully pointed out that Romney had changed his stances over time to agree with Obama after events proved Obama correct.
Jones, a Democrat, said that overall, he "thought it was a good, vigorous debate. I believe on the foreign policy issues, Obama was well ahead and outscored him."
Donaldson said he would have liked more discussion of defense issues and Russia, which he said is nervous about Romney's statement that it is the United States' No. 1 "geopolitical threat."
Jones said there is a difference between the foreign policy rhetoric of an outsider campaigning for president and the achievable realities faced by the president of the United States.
"I think almost all foreign policy questions are questions that are beyond the control of the person in the Oval Office solely," Jones said.
"We live in an interdependent world," he said. "The U.S. is clearly the strongest country in the world, but we're not strong enough to impose our will if we don't have friends and allies."
Original Print Headline: Experts with Tulsa ties cite absent topics
Wayne Greene 918-581-8308
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365
Moderator Bob Schieffer (center) watches as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (left) and President Barack Obama shake hands before the start of the last debate at Lynn University on Monday. PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS / Associated Press
Former TU President Robert Donaldson: "That is an enormous gap for me. When you look at where American economic interests and military interests are, that's very surprising."
President Barack Obama (left) hugs his wife, Michelle, while Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney kisses his wife, Ann, following the third presidential debate Monday night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. DAVID GOLDMAN / Associated Press
James R. Jones: Jones said the "change point" in the debate came when Obama successfully pointed out that Romney had changed his stances over time to agree with Obama after events proved Obama correct. Jones also noted the absence of the Eurozone, Latin America and India as topics.
President Barack Obama and moderator Bob Schieffer (right) listen to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the final presidential debate Monday. DAVID GOLDMAN / Associated Press