Mitt Romney and Barack Obama met on Monday night for
debate before the election. The showdown in Boca Raton, hosted by Bob Schieffer of CBS, was supposed to
focus exclusively on foreign policy, though both candidates frequently took the
opportunity to pivot to discussions of the U.S. economy.
In contrast to previous debates, Romney was relatively muted
in his criticism of the president's record, declining to criticize his handling
of the Benghazi consulate attack. Romney did repeat his claim that the
president had gone on an "apology tour" of the Middle East following his
election, argued that Iran is now "four years closer to a nuclear weapon," and
described proposed cuts to the military budget as "devastating."
Obama accused Romney of changing his positions on
intervention in Libya and withdrawal from Afghanistan, and joked that the
Republican candidate wants to "import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just
like the social policies of the 1950s, and the economic policies of the 1920s."
CNN viewers gave a
slight edge to the more aggressive Obama in post-debate polls.
The Powell doctrine
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed
Obama in an interview with CBS Thursday. "I signed on for a long
patrol with President Obama," said the former general, who had attracted
attention by crossing party lines to endorse the president in 2008. Expressing
concern with Romney's shifting positions on foreign policy, Powell said,
"Sometimes I don't sense that he has thought through these issues as thoroughly
as he should have."
Former New Hampshire governor Romney campaign surrogate John Sununu caused
controversy on Thursday night by saying that Powell supports Obama because
he is African-American. I think when you have somebody of your own race that
you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for
standing with him," Sununu told CNN's Piers
Morgan. Sununu later issued a statement saying that he doesn't doubt
Powell's endorsed was "based on anything but his support of the president's policies."
Rice on Benghazi
The Obama campaign got an assist from both of George W. Bush's secretaries of state
this week, with Condoleezza Rice downplaying
Republican attacks on the Obama administration's handling of diplomatic
security prior to the Benghazi attack. "It is not very easy in circumstances
like this to know precisely what's going on as it's unfolding," she said in an
interview with Fox's Greta Van Susteren.
"There are protocols in place, I have no reason to believe they weren't
followed, but it is not very easy in circumstances like this to know precisely
what's going on as it's unfolding."
this week that the White House had received emails hours after the Benghazi
attack saying that an Islamist militant group had claimed credit, though it now
appears those emails may
have been inaccurate. The Senate Intelligence committee has scheduled
hearings into the attacks for several days after the election.
The third-party factor
Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson launched his first television
ad this week, touting his dovish foreign policy. The ads, which will run in
several states in the mountain west, feature a menacing-looking drone and the
former New Mexico governor describing himself as the "only candidate who does
not want to bomb Iran." The ads follow Johnson's performance at a third-party
candidates' debate on Tuesday in which he pledged to reduce military
spending by 43 percent. Johnson, along with fellow third-party candidate Virgil Goode of the Constitution party,
could be a factor in the battleground state of Nevada, where they have combined
support of around 7 percent according to recent polls.
Who would the world
A BBC poll of
21,797 people in 21 countries shows 50 percent supporting Obama, with only 9
percent for Romney. France was the most pro-Obama country, with 72 percent
support. The only country where voters preferred Romney was Pakistan, likely
due to opposition to the Obama administration's drone attacks. Romney also
enjoyed significant levels of support in Poland and in Obama's father's
The latest from FP
foreign-policy ads of 2012.
you tell Obama's foreign policy statements from Romney's?
Rosa Brooks on
why she's still
Peter W. Singer
on why the next president needs to figure out their policy
Can't we all just not
get along, asks John A. Gans Jr.
Christian Caryl says
apathetic Americans get
a bad rap.
Micah Zenko lists
lies we tell ourselves about U.S. foreign policy.
Joshua Keating on
biggest issues that didn't come up in the debates.
Will Marshall wonders
Romney's rope-a-dope will actually work.
David Hoffman looks
Five foreign policy experts weigh in on the real
takeaways from Monday's debate.
Plus, get the latest updates on the campaign at The Cable and Passport.
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