“In nowhere in the world is America’s influence greater today than it was four years ago.”
That was the allegation leveled bt Mitt Romney toward Obama last night in he was 100% correct.
It was clear that both candidates entered the debate with their own strategy.
For Obama, the strategy was to of goad Romney, debase Romney and try to lure Romney into being a pro war president.
For Romney, the strategy was to be presidential, diplomatic, knowledgeable, show that his administration would project strength at every turn on the world stage and turn the debate back to economic policy.
Obama left the debate frustrated that Romney would not take the bait, not be goaded in the directions Obama wanted and stood strong against Obama’s debasing tactics countering them with facts.
Romney left the debate having accomplished each and every one of his strategic goals.
Obama clearly had the edge in the number of “one liners” but, they were snarky, patronizing and intentionally meant to be belittling. Frankly, anything but presidential. Obama’s presentation of those one liners came across as frustrated and petty.
Romney dismissed them all with one simple line: “Attacking me is not an agenda.”
Without say it, that line summed up Obama’s entire campaign.
Regarding the foreign policy portions of the debate, Obama continually reduced his points to the smallest denominator.
I, me, me, me, I and on and “we killed bin Laden…
Romney effectively countered that tactic with another single line after offering his congratulations for taking out bin Laden: “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.”
Romney took his comments and debate points to the largest possible positions by relating our national positions, leadership on the world’s stage, our allies and the fact that without a strong economy at home, we could not provide the leadership role for the world.
Romney: Let me step back and talk about what I think our mission has to be in the Middle East and even more broadly, because our purpose is to make sure the world is more — is peaceful. We want a peaceful planet. We want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they’re going to have a bright and prosperous future, not be at war. That’s our purpose.
And the mantle of leadership for the — promoting the principles of peace has fallen to America. We didn’t ask for it. But it’s an honor that we have it.
But for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong. And that begins with a strong economy here at home. Unfortunately, the economy is not stronger. When the — when the president of Iraq — excuse me, of Iran, Ahmadinejad, says that our debt makes us not a great country, that’s a frightening thing.
Former chief of the — Joint Chiefs of Staff said that — Admiral Mullen said that our debt is the biggest national security threat we face. This — we have weakened our economy. We need a strong economy.
We need to have as well a strong military. Our military is second to none in the world. We’re blessed with terrific soldiers, and extraordinary technology and intelligence. But the idea of a trillion dollar in cuts through sequestration and budget cuts to the military would change that. We need to have strong allies. Our association and connection with our allies is essential to America’s strength. We’re the great nation that has allies, 42 allies and friends around the world.
Here are Obama’s comments on the exact same question regarding the Middle East: OBAMA: America remains the one indispensable nation. And the world needs a strong America, and it is stronger now than when I came into office.
Because we ended the war in Iraq, we were able to refocus our attention on not only the terrorist threat, but also beginning a transition process in Afghanistan.
It also allowed us to refocus on alliances and relationships that had been neglected for a decade.
And Governor Romney, our alliances have never been stronger, in Asia, in Europe, in Africa, with Israel, where we have unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation, including dealing with the Iranian threat.
But what we also have been able to do is position ourselves so we can start rebuilding America, and that’s what my plan does. Making sure that we’re bringing manufacturing back to our shores so that we’re creating jobs here, as we’ve done with the auto industry, not rewarding companies that are shipping jobs overseas.
Making sure that we’ve got the best education system in the world, including retraining our workers for the jobs of tomorrow.
Doing everything we can to control our own energy. We’ve cut our oil imports to the lowest level in two decades because we’ve developed oil and natural gas. But we also have to develop clean energy technologies that will allow us to cut our exports in half by 2020. That’s the kind of leadership that we need to show.
And we’ve got to make sure that we reduce our deficit. Unfortunately, Governor Romney’s plan doesn’t do it. We’ve got to do it in a responsible way by cutting out spending we don’t need, but also asking the wealthiest to pay a little bit more. That way we can invest in the research and technology that’s always kept us at the cutting edge.
Again, Romney slammed the door on Obama: “Attacking me is not an agenda. Attacking me is not talking about how we’re going to deal with the challenges in the Middle East.”
In what may well have been one of the most telling foreign policy moments of the entire debate, Mitt Romney had mentioned Obama’s 2009 “apology tour” to which Obama shot back: “Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. This has been probably the biggest whopper that’s been told during the course of this campaign.”
Romney did NOT shy away from the door which Obama had just left wide open.
“We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran. We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran. And — and — we should not have wasted these four years to the extent they — they continue to be able to spin these centrifuges and get that much closer. That’s number one.”
“Number two, Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And by the way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations.”
“And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. And then in those nations, and on Arabic TV, you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations.”
At that point, Mitt Romney leveled a devastating blow to Obama’s foreign policy of apologies.
“Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.”
That line left Obama to try and scramble for cover by relating his trip to Israel as a CANDIDATE in 2008 but, since he has NOT traveled to Israel AS PRESIDENT, Obama came up woefully short on the topic.
Bob Schieffer then followed up with THIS question: “What if — what if the prime minister of Israel called you on the phone and said, “Our bombers are on the way. We’re going to bomb Iran.”
Romney: ”Bob, let’s not go into hypotheticals of that nature. Our relationship with Israel, my relationship with the prime minister of Israel is such that we would not get a call saying our bombers are on the way, or their fighters are on the way. This is the kind of thing that would have been discussed and thoroughly evaluated well before that kind of –“
Obama could not touch it and never answered it.
For Obama to win, not only last night’s debate but emerge from all the debates with momentum, he needed to deliver the knockout blow.
He did not even come close.
Romney came across last night, as he has throughout the series of debates as clearly ready for the job and presidential while Obama came across, last night, as a desperate challenger for the job.
Romney vs Obama is like comparing Naval Ship to Horses and Bayonets.