Obama delivered a solid performance at the third and final debate on foreign policy. The President came prepared and trounced the Republican challenger on every debate topic. Here are the highlights:
Governor Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that al-Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what was the biggest geo-political threat facing America, you said ‘Russia.’ Not al-Qaeda, Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.
You seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social polices of the 1950s, and the economic policies of the 1920s.
(Laughter from audience)
You say 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.
You’ve said that, first we should not have a timeline in Afghanistan, then you said we should. Now, you said ‘maybe,’ or ‘it depends.’ It means, not only were you wrong, but you were confusing and sending mixed messages both to our troops and our allies.
But, what we can’t do, is to simply suggest as Governor Romney has at times suggested, that giving heavy weapons, for example, to the Syrian opposition is a simple proposition that would lead us to be safer in the long term. For us to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step, and we have to do so making absolutely certain that we know who we are helping, that we’re not putting arms in the hands of folks who could eventually turn them against us, or our allies in the region.
I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mention the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them; we have ships that go underwater – nuclear submarines. So the question is not a game of battleship where we’re counting our ships – it’s what are our capabilities?
The disagreement I have with Governor Romney is that during the course of this campaign, he’s often talked as if we should take premature military action. I think that would be a mistake. When I send young men and women into harm’s way, I always understand that it is the last resort, not the first resort…
I am glad that Governor Romney agrees with the steps we are taking. There have been times, governor, frankly, during the course of this campaign where it sounded like you’d do the same things we did, but you’d say them louder, and somehow that would make a difference. And it turns out that the work in setting up these crippling sanctions is painstaking. It’s meticulous…This is a testament to how we restored American credibility and strength around the world, is we had to make sure all the countries participated, even countries like Russia and China…It’s because we got everyone to agree that Iran is seeing so much pressure.
While we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a Chinese state oil company that was doing business with the Iranian oil sector. So I’ll let the American people decide, judge, who’s going to be more effective and more credible when it comes to imposing crippling sanctions.
On Romney’s claim that Obama went on an “apology tour” in the Middle East:
Nothing Gov Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing…Every fact-checker and every reporter has looked at it, and has said, Governor, that this is not true.
Moving on to domestic issues, on small business development:
Governor Romney talks about small businesses, but, Governor, when you were in Massachusetts, small business development ranked about 48th out of 50 states…because the policies you’re promoting actually don’t help small businesses. And the way you define small businesses includes folks at the very top…that’s not the type of small business promotion we need.
On Romney’s claim of bi-partisan efforts to improve education in Massachusetts:
But that was 10 years before you took office, and you cut education spending when you got into office.
On auto bailout:
Governor Romney, you keep on trying to airbrush history. You were very clear that you would not provide government assistance to the U.S. auto companies, even if they went through bankruptcy. You said they could get it in the private marketplace. That wasn’t true.
Obama summing up Romney’s ineptitude:
I know that you haven’t been in a position to actually execute foreign policy, but every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong.
What we need [in] the Middle East is strong, steady leadership, not wrong and reckless leadership that is all over the map.
[Romney’s] praised George Bush as a good economic steward and Dick Cheney as somebody who shows great wisdom and judgment. And taking us back to those kind of strategies that got us into this mess are not the way we are going to maintain leadership in the 21st Century.
Want More? Read “Romney Says Blaming President For Bad Economy Is ‘Poppycock’ (VIDEO)”