President Obama and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney focused on foreign policy in the third and final presidential debate, held at Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida.
Both candidates delivered sharply different views on issues ranging from Iran’s nuclear program to the decade long war in Afghanistan. However, while addressing all these issues there were places where both candidates stumbled on facts.
Here is a look at some of them.
Romney: “When the students took to the streets in Tehran and the people there protested, the Green Revolution occurred, for the president to be silent I thought was an enormous mistake.”
Facts: Romney said that President Obama was silent on the issue, but this is not correct. His initial response was muted because he was looking forward to initiate negotiations with Iran.
After President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the elections and mass protests erupted all over Iran, Obama in a statement very clearly said that US respects sovereignty of Iran and it is up to Iranian people who they elect as their leader.
Obama: “With respect to what we’ve done with China already, U.S. exports have doubled since I came into office.”
Facts:Obama has set a goal of doubling US exports by 2014, but he seems to have gone ahead in numerical terms. According to statistics from Census Bureau exports of goods to China have gone from $89 billion in 2008 to $103 billion in 2011. They have not doubled.
Romney:“Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea.”
Facts:Cartography says different. Syria does not share any border with Iran, but the only-land route connecting both countries runs through Iraq and Turkey, and both are countries which are not on friendly terms with Iran. Tehran certainly uses Syria to transport arms and ammunition to Hezbollah, but sea has little to do with it.
Obama:“I said if I got bin Laden in our sights I would take that shot; you said we shouldn’t move heaven and earth to get one man.”
Facts:Obama quoted a statement made by Romney in an interview back in 2007 with the Associated Press in which he said,“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”
But Obama ignored the rest of the interview in which Romney was quoted supporting a broader strategy to defeat global jihadists. He also stated that this is not just about Osama Bin Laden.
“This is about Hezbollah and Hamas and al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. This is a worldwide jihadist effort to try and cause the collapse of all moderate Islamic governments and replace them with a caliphate.”