Obama ambushed a rambling Romney
President Barack Obama excelled over Mitt Romney’s rambling chant about who is tougher and ambushed the challenger with his sure touch on many aspects of foreign policy. Romney just barely managed not agreeing on may points raised by Obama as he traversed the foreign affairs map. Said one analyst—we thought Romney was on the verge of endorsing Obama.
The new dynamic of an expectant world waiting for lessening of the rigid rules of engagement with a potential for salutary American magnanimity was lost on Romney who repeated—we need strong leadership over 20 times.
Obama had the obvious advantage with a hands-on role directing foreign policy operations he had for four years as the sitting president, he just knew more. Romney stuck to the pre-planned topic—a weakened American economy is a poor prescription for those Islamic uprisings. A broader approach with more time spent on China and South America would have served the challenger better.
As a sure-footed Obama made easy mince of Romney’s assertions, there seemed greater agreements between the two. Romney could not and dared no take the stuff Obama threw at him and hit it out of the park. He just came out with the much-repeated beaten campaign path.
So Romney played into Obama’s hands. He watched helplessly as he gave a litany of things done starting with getting Osama, welcoming Tunisian and Egyptian revolution, crippling Iran with severe sanctions, and also presenting a better face of America to the world.
The president used his access on a daily basis to all of the intelligence and showed that he had been in the driver’s seat when it came time to make decisions. Most analysts stated that people already expect something from him and half way through the debate, it was clear that they seemed content with very little from Romney.
No fluid situations
Romney could not create any sense of imminent threat to America’s safety nor cite any fluid situations in the world. The very first question on Benghazi was nicely deflected into nothing by Romney. As happened during the second debate Romney flubbed the recent attack on Obama over Libya. He played safe last night. If Israel were to say-“the Iran bombers are coming and what would you do—Romney did not take the bait—contradicting his own touch man image.
Florida’s Boca Raton showdown had Obama and Romney tethered to chairs and Obama looked commanding as he did with the Town Hall setting. The moderator CBS-“Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer, had the debate under control quite well.
I think Romney did not present a new view about America’s role in the world—a disappointing point for most overseas listeners. Obama scored well on most topics: Afghanistan and Pakistan wars, “Red lines” and Israel and Iran, changing Middle East and the new face of terrorism.
We expected point by pointer countering on all the topics but what transpired was well-couched jargon--a way of avoiding any errors—playing safe seemed Romney’s main goal. During their camping stump speeches both Romney and Ryan had made references to Benghazi including that the Obama White House downplayed at first that the deaths and were not at the hands of a mob, but an Al-Qaeda affiliate. Those never came up.
When it came to Israel Romney hinted that he was a better friend of Israel or a more devoted enemy of the Taliban and Iran. Obama just showed his shimmering smile.
China caricatured by Romney
Romney’s claim seemed to think that China is a one dimensional Hollywood villain, a monetary cheat under-valuing its currency and should be charged with stealing American jobs. “On day one I would call China a currency cheat.’ That got pummeled by Obama stating that Chinese currency as it stands now was at the right position as far as USA was concerned. He also reminded everyone USA had made successful attempts to correct some areas of dispute using GATT—Romney did not see that currency regulations are best left to states.
China-US relations are just not fanciful notions but a detailed a complicated attempts to have meaningful give and take among world’s number bone and two economies. It was a caricature that Romney offered instead of a full blown debate on a key issue.
From the point of view of how the debate would impact the vote may only be known in a day or two. Obama kept on saying let us fact-check what Romney has been saying. That would indeed be done as I write.
Viewership for the debate is below peak as there was the popular Monday night game going on TV at the same time. According to Nielsen ratings Denver drew 67.2 million viewers; the vice presidential, 51.4 viewers, and Hofstra, 65.6 million viewers. It might be about 58 million for the final debate. The debates are run by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
- Asian Tribune -