Few surprises in last presidential debate
BY World's Editorials Writers
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
10/24/12 at 3:05 AM
Everyone can relax now. It's over. Thankfully, the final presidential debate was held Monday night and, all in all, it was pretty much a yawner.
For those keeping score at home, well, good luck.
This was supposed to be a debate about foreign policy. But try as they might neither candidate could stay on course. Each, at some point, drifted into domestic concerns. The two, of course, are tied. A healthy economy makes us a stronger player on the international stage.
Still, most of those tuning in would like to have heard more definitive plans concerning how each would handle a world in turmoil. Oddly, neither candidate nor moderator Bob Schieffer ever brought up Europe.
Most of the talk centered on the Middle East. Frankly, Republican candidate Mitt Romney seemed to agree with President Barack Obama on many issues in that region. Romney did, however, mention that he would indict Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on genocide charges, without explaining how or why.
Obama got off the one and only much-anticipated zinger of the night after Romney warned that the U.S. Navy "is smaller now than any time since 1917." Obama responded that the comparison works only if aircraft carriers are equated with gunboats. "We also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military has changed," Obama said.
Romney was not completely unarmed in this debate. He made a succinct point when said: "You look at the record of the last four years and say: Is Iran closer to a bomb? Yes. Is the Middle East in tumult? Yes. Is al-Qaida on the run, on its heels? No. Are Israel and the Palestinians closer to reaching a peace agreement? No."
It was a surprise when Schieffer asked them to discuss the tragedy of Benghazi and the fallout from it, neither spoke directly to the subject. Romney, who has been critical of the handling of the issue, was strangely silent Monday night.
The choice seems to be not about policy but about style and leadership in the world. And maybe that is what it boils down to.
Romney still needs to be more specific on not only his foreign policy but on domestic issues. Americans need and want details and Romney needs to deliver, soon.
Most voters already have made up their minds. The candidates are wooing those few, but important, undecideds.
The election is two weeks away. And the debates are, mercifully, over.
Original Print Headline: Last debate