And what an interesting history, up till this night, the debates have written in this election contest. In the first debate a lifeless Obama and an energized Romney turned the election on its head with Romney taking the lead from Obama. The second debate saw an aggressive Obama, full of sound and fury but ultimately signifying little as Romney turned in a very good performance and Obama gained bupkis from his efforts in the polls. Here are my thoughts on the third and final debate.
1. Libya Missed Opportunity-Libya was the first question out of the box and Romney didn’t attempt to lay a glove on Obama. Mistake.
2. I Am Not a Hawk- Romney went out of his way throughout the debate to refute Obama’s argument that he is a hawk. My guess is that is correct. If Romney is left to his own devices I believe he would be tightly focused on getting the American economy moving. Unfortunately American presidents often are not allowed to engage in “of the world forgetting and by the world forgot”, as 9-11 demonstrated.
3. Lacklustre-Of all the debates I found this one the most dreary. I think both Obama and Romney were repeating talking points from previous debates and the entire debate had a “been there, done that” feel.
4. Obama on the Attack-Like most candidates who are behind, Obama was on the attack all night. It would have been much more effective if he had not also been sneeringly condescending while doing so.
5. Hollow Military-Romney effectively challenged the reductions in military strength that have been the hallmark of the Obama record on defense.
6. Not the October Surprise- Obama made some news by denying media reports that the US and Iran are going to negotiate directly.
7. Split Screen-Obama forgot about the split screen and looked perpetually perturbed while Romney was speaking. Romney continued the face discipline that he has displayed in each of the debates.
8. Nation Building at Home- Obama repeated this talking point frequently. Take money from the military and send it down a stimulus rat hole at home. Considering how dubious nation building has been in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I find it an odd mantra for Obama to embrace.
9. Mitt in a China Shop- Romney attacked China once again over fair trade which I think is popular with the voters, whatever the merits or demerits of it as a basis for our trade policy with the Middle Kingdom.
10. Boring- You know a Presidential debate is truly boring when even I, a political junky’s political junky, find it boring. I doubt if the debate will have much impact, even for those who stayed awake and didn’t switch channels. Obama needed a big win, and at best he got a draw.