In their third and final face-off before November 6 elections, President Obama and Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney exchanged their views on the issue of foreign policy. In what can be termed as one of the most explosive exchange of words during the debate, President Obama accused his rival of being ‘all over the map’ and inexperienced on key national security issues.
Romney, on the other hand tried his best to show that he has the all necessary credentials of a statesman. With the race towards White House entering its conclusive phase, both of them had to make sure that they maintain a strong grip on voters.
Here is a look at some of the places where the exchange of ideas turned feisty.
Romney’s fiercest attack: Apology Tour
Romney has repeatedly criticized President Obama’s foreign policy as being apologetic. He also said that Obama and his government have supported dictators and despots in the Middle East. Obama denied that he had intended to apologize for America, and dubbed the claim made by his challenger as a ‘whooper’.
Obama gets aggressive: The 1980s want their policy back
Obama fired back at his opponent for having once claimed that Russia is the biggest geopolitical threat to US. 'The 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War's been over for 20 years,'he said.
He also took the opportunity to project Romney as an amateur in foreign policy when he said, 'Every time you've offered an opinion you've been wrong.'
‘We Can’t kill our way out of this mess’
Out of the 90-minute debate, this was one moment where both candidates seemed to have agreed. Softening his neoconservative line Romney repeatedly insisted, “We can't kill our way out of this problem.”
He further added, “We don't want another Iraq, we don't want another Afghanistan - that's not the right course for us, promising to keep the U.S. military out of Syria.”
In addition to this he also agreed on the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in 2014, something that has previously been emphasized by President Obama.
However, Romney’s rejection of a hardline stance, and flexibility on issues disappointed many right-wingers. A conservative radio show host Glenn Beck expressed his opinion when he tweeted:
I am glad to know that mitt agrees with Obama so much.No, really.Why vote?— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) October 23, 2012
American influence in the world: Romney ‘all over the map’
When addressing on the issue of American influence in the world, Romney said, "I don't see our influence growing around the world”. "I see our influence receding, in part because of the failure of the president to deal with our economic challenges at home."
At this point President Obama came up with his zinger when he told his opponent that he is "all over the map".
Romney: Navy smaller than it was in 1917
At one point, Romney complained that the Navy is "smaller now than any time since 1917." His statement provided Obama the opportunity to enjoy the viral moment of the day.
He pounced back saying, "We also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military has changed." The phrase, within minutes became an internet sensation.
Iran and Israel: Romney says Obama has been a failure
When it came to the matter of protecting Israel and stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons, both candidates had some fierce disagreements. Romney accused Obama of failing to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon saying that the country is “four years closer to building a nuclear bomb', thanks to Obama's failure to slow down the secretive process”.
He further said that President Obama has failed prove himself an ally of Israel. While addressing the issue Romney went to the extent to state some of his future plans regarding relations between US and Israel. “If I'm President of the United States - when I'm President of the United States - I will stand with Israel.”
Obama, on the other hand proved his pro-Israel credentials by referring to the country as a true friend and ally. Also, he criticized Romney for fundraising on his trip to Israel.
"When I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn't take donors," Obama said. "I didn't attend fundraisers. I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself of the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable."
The third and final presidential debate proved that Republican nominee Mitt Romney does not have a proper foreign policy plan that he intends to implement, if elected president. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that CNN’s latest survey of debate-watchers showed that 48 per cent consider Obama as the winner of the debate, whereas 40 per cent have voted in favor of Romney.