Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Who Won The Foreign Policy Debate?

This editorial in the NYT sums up my impression of the debate as well.  Mitt Romney had to cram a lot of material, provided by his foreign policy advisers, into the debate. That is not easy to do, and it showed.  He memorized a lot of information that he had not digested.  President Obama has been working on these issues for four years. He did come across as someone who had memorized a lot of talking points. I'm sure that Fox News and other GOP media outlets will have a different reaction to the debate.  After all, Romney recited a lot of the same talking points that they have been feeding the GOP base.  However, the preliminary polls show that Obama was more impressive on foreign policy among undecided voters by a wide margin.

Both candidates made efforts to turn the foreign policy debate back to domestic policy.  That is more important to most of the public than foreign policy.  The leading newspaper in Salt Lake City, Utah surprised many observers by coming out for the president.  Utah is one of the most reliable Republican states in the country and it is Mitt Romney's home state.  His home state paper refused to support him because he has changed his positions on almost every issue multiple times. They accused Romney as behaving like a weather vane and changing his positions in the direction that the political wind was blowing instead of sticking to a set of principles that one could use to determine his behavior if he were elected.  President Obama took every opportunity to remind the audience that we really don't know Mitt Romney's real position on most of the issues.  He asserted that it is not possible to run the country by doing what the latest focus group believes about the issues.

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