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Romney and Obama Discuss Leadership, Middle East, and Other Issues in Final Debate

Republican+presidential+candidate+Mitt+Romney+listens+as+President+Barack+Obama+makes+a+point+during+the+final+presidential+debate+at+Lynn+University+in+Boca+Raton%2C+Florida+on+Monday%2C+October+22%2C+2012.+Bob+Schieffer+was+the+moderator.
(Robert Duyos/Sun Sentinel/MCT)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney listens as President Barack Obama makes a point during the final presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida on Monday, October 22, 2012. Bob Schieffer was the moderator.

President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney met for one final presidential debate on Monday, October 22nd, at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. This debate was perhaps most crucial of the three, as a poll done by  NBC News and the Wall Street Journal last week showed the popular vote was tied at 46% for each candidate. This comes after weeks of a lead in the polls for Obama.

Romney introduced one of the major themes for the night in his first answer. Talking about what the U.S. can do about deteriorating situations in some Middle Eastern countries, Romney said, “we can’t kill our way out of this mess.” Instead, he promoted a “comprehensive and robust strategy to help the world of Islam and other parts of the world reject this radical, violent extremism.”

Obama agreed with this sentiment, saying “America remains the one indispensable nation. And the world needs a strong America.”

Romney agreed with Obama’s idea about America being a role model nation. He said, “The mantle of leadership for promoting the principles of peace has fallen to America.”

Once the candidates agreed on this idea, they told just how they planned to make America a strong leader for the world. This is when the debate shifted from foreign policy to primarily domestic issues.  Romney emphasized his plan to add 12 million jobs for Americans and to make North America energy independent. Obama talked about continuing the recovery of the economy he helped to start when he took office in 2008, and also added the development of renewable energy as a key factor for future U.S. success.

Budget issues came up in the debate as well, as Romney said he plans to “get to a balanced budget” if he is elected. Obama criticized Romney’s plan to cut $5 trillion from the budget while adding $2 trillion to military spending, saying “the math doesn’t work.”

Romney argued that the safety of Americans comes before budget considerations. “The highest responsibility of the President of the United States is to maintain the safety of the American people,” he said. “I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars” as he claims Obama and congress propose to do.

In regard to foreign affairs, Romney and Obama agreed on more issues than most analysts expected them to. They both said that America “will stand with Israel”, and Romney agreed with Obama’s timeline to withdraw all armed forces from Afghanistan in 2014. “When I’m president,” he said, “we’ll make we bring our troops out [of Afghanistan] by the end of 2014.”

One final issue the candidates discussed was Iran’s nuclear program. Obama said, “The clock is ticking…We are going to take all options necessary to make sure they don’t have a nuclear weapon.”

Romney responded to the same issue by blaming Obama’s “weakness” as a leader for allowing Iran to start the development of a nuclear weapon. “An Iranian nuclear program is not acceptable to us…Our diplomatic isolation [against Iran] needs to be tougher” so that the U.S. “won’t have to take military action.”

The candidates now have two weeks to continue their campaigns and win over undecided voters before the election on November 6th.

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