And the final debate is in the books. My initial thoughts:
Mitt Romney spent 80% of the debate agreeing with President Obama's foreign policy. That was really the entire debate. The other 20% was Mitt whining about the economy.
The details follow below the jump.
CBS News's Bob Schieffer is the moderator for the third and final debate, the topic, 90 minutes on foreign policy. Same rules as the first, segments. Schieffer reminds both men that today is the 50th anniversary of JFK's speech on the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Schieffer opened up with Libya and Benghazi. Romney accused the President of blowing the promise of the Arab Spring. Refuses to stick to Libya, goes all over the place. Obama responds with Bin Laden and ending the war in Iraq and drawing down in Afghanistan. Unlike Romney, Obama does answer the question. States he will get the terrorists, points out he did get rid of Qaddafi. Romney responds we need more foreign aid, gender equality. Conservatives were screaming at the TV at this point. Obama scored first blood by reminding the world on Romney's flip-flops on Russia and Iraq. Romney's weak response gets smacked down by the President as he accused Romney is being all over the map.
Schieffer then went to Syria. President Obama states what the US has done to try to get Assad to go, but says correctly that Syria has to determine its own future. Romney...agrees with the President. Pretty much completely with the President. In fact he basically restates the President's position.
The President then responded with the fact that US has been playing a leadership role, and states Libya's overthrow of Qaddafi as proof. Schieffer wisely asks if Romney would do anything different. Romney says no. Obama finishes him off with "Governor Romney doesn't have different ideas."
Well, you don't win a debate by agreeing with your opponent, Mitt. Point Obama.
Schieffer then goes to Egypt and asks if President Obama has any regrets about Mubarak and Egypt. President Obama says no. States what the US has done to boost Egyptian democracy, and that Egypt must maintain their treaty with Israel. Romney agrees with him and laments Bush and earlier Presidents not pushing him out earlier. Romney swinging to the debt as a national security issue, but then mentions more Pentagon spending.
Obama wins again, 3-0.
Schieffer uses Romney's response to go to what both men see as America's role in the world. Romney goes right back to the economy. Promises he won't cut the military budget, hits Obama on Israel and Iran's Green Revolution. President Obama responds again with Iraq and Iran, states that he is trying to make a stronger economy through green jobs and deficit reduction, which Romney wouldn't do. Romney breaks into his stump speech and his 5 point plan again. Obama goes into education and his plan to hire more teachers.
I have to throw the flag here and award no points.
Schieffer FINALLY asks how Romney will balance the budget and spend more money on the military. Romney says he'll repeal Obamacare and send Medicaid to the states. Obama actually answers the question and smacks Romney on the math. POTUS points out his budget does make things safer. Romney accuses the President of cutting ships. Obama points out we don't need submarines to stop terrorists.
Schieffer then asks about Iran and Israel, and if the US will stand with Israel if they are attacked. President Obama of course says yes. He says the red lines are nuclear weapons for Iran, points out sanctions are working. Says that Iran will face a united world. Romney...agrees with the President. Wants diplomats expelled and the International Criminal Court to indict Ahmadinejad on genocide incitement.
Point to Obama again as Mitt Romney agrees with him AGAIN.
Schieffer follows up with what it would take to get Iran to the table. President Obama says Iran must get rid of its nuclear program. Tells Romney "You would do the same things I would, only louder." Romney accuses the President as weak. Pulls out the apology tour lie for the 183274th time. Continues to agree with Obama on sanctions. President Obama counters by calling Romney on the apology tour and Romney investing in Chinese companies that do business with Iran. Romney doubles down on the apology tour. President Obama closes the trap on the fact he has way more foreign policy credibility.
Obama wins again.
Schieffer then asks what each man would do if Bibi called to say bombs are on the way. Romney refuses to answer the question because he's so awesome, it would never happen, attacks the President on Israel. President Obama, finally having enough of this nonsense, calls out Romney on agreeing with him when earlier Romney said he wouldn't use sanctions, rips Romney on his many, many flip-flops.
Obama, dings up another one.
Schieffer asks a good question here, if in 2014 the Afghans aren't in any shape to take over, if we'll still withdraw. Romney says yes( !) after whining about the last question. He then praises the President's withdrawal plan. POTUS then explains why the plan is working, to bring the troops home, to transition resources to nation building at home. Schieffer shifts to Pakistan and mentions...Obama bin Laden? Romney goes on to explain the Obama administration's policy towards Pakistan, refuses to blame the administration for Pakistan's double-dealing.
Point Obama. Yawn.
Schieffer then asks about drones. Mitt? Mitt loves drones. Says Al Qaeda isn't on the run. President Obama points out partnerships have been formed all over the world to put AQ on its back.
Obama wins again.
Schieffer asks what the greatest threat to national security. President Obama says terror networks. Obama then goes after Romney on China. Romney says nuclear Iran and says he'll be super tough on China. Schieffer points out Romney's calling for a trade war. Romney says we're already in a trade war. Points out China is costing US jobs. President Obama points out that Romney has invested in companies that sent jobs to China (ouch). President Obama then suckers Romney into wasting his response on how great bankruptcy is for the auto industry. Obama then points out cuts in education and research won't make us competitive with China. Romney goes back to his stump speech.
If I could award President Obama two points I would.
Closing statements. President Obama states his record. Romney repeats his stump speech for the third time this evening.
Final score, 10-0 Obama. Brutal debate. Night, folks.