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Fact-Checking The Truths and Lies of Foreign Policy

(Richard Graulich/Palm Beach Post/MCT)
Republican presidential candidat Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama shake hands at the end of the last debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida on Monday, October 22, 2012.

On Monday, October 22nd, Republican candidate Mitt Romney and our current Democratic president, Barack Obama, met in Boca Raton, Florida for the third and final Presidential Debate, the main theme being Foreign Policy. Countries such as Iran, Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, Russia and even remarks about Osama Bin Laden were topics of discussion that debate moderator Bob Schieffer included for Governor Romney and President Obama to talk about. I used facts from, a trusted fact checking website to fact-check this debate.

The first issue brought up was Iran, and on the topic, Governor Romney was on the offensive and accused President Obama of the incidents in Tehran throughout 2009. “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” says Romney. This statement is “Mostly False” according to Politifact, because “silent” was an exaggeration about the President’s reaction to the issue.

The Governor was then caught giving mixed signals about the President’s pace of pulling troops out of Iraq, saying that we have pulled them out too quickly. The President was perplexed about this, however, pointing out, “Now, you just gave a speech a few weeks ago in which you said we should still have troops in Iraq.”

With Israel, Romney had brought up that “Obama has never visited Israel as President”, and that he skipped Israel on his trip to the Middle East during his first term. Romney’s statement was rated “True”.

Pakistan was spoken of as well, and Mitt Romney spoke to the President about what our actions towards Pakistan should be. “Pakistan is important to the region, to the world and to us, because Pakistan has 100 nuclear warheads and they’re rushing to build a lot more. They’ll have more than Great Britain sometime in the relatively near future.”  Politifact rated this statement “Mostly True”, being that the Governor’s statement about the amount of nuclear warheads held in Pakistan currently was true, and the experts said about the remark as a whole was plausible.

Concerning Russia, President Obama and Governor Romney both agreed that Iran was our greatest geopolitical threat, although only a few months ago as Obama says, Romney stated that he thought that Russia was our “greatest geopolitical threat.” This statement was rated “Half True” by the Politifact.

And finally, one of the biggest discussions of the night, Osama Bin Laden. President Obama said “If I got (Osama) bin Laden in our sights I would take that shot” that refers back to a recent campaign ad that said that Romney wouldn’t have taken that opportunity, because in the ad Romney had stated that “we shouldn’t move heaven and earth to get one man.” This statement was rated “Half True”, because it had glossed over the broader view of the Governor’s approach and context. The Governor then claimed that under Obama’s administration in the past term “We keep our options quiet,” meaning that his administration would attack without approval, attacking in Pakistan without permission from the Pakistanis. This was a “Mostly True” statement.

I believe that from the issues brought up that neither candidate ‘won’ or ‘succeeded’ based on the fact check, because none of the facts that I stated were completely true. However, I still do believe that either of them did better than another in certain areas of the debate. I thought that Mitt Romney’s strong points were on Pakistan and Israel, because Governor Romney brought up how we should be dealing with Pakistan and our communication with them. Same with Israel, Romney was correct that the President has not once visited Israel and that it is needed in order to make sure that what is happening there is all okay and to me it is important that we have strong connections with countries in the Middle East, even ones that may be allies such as Israel.

President Obama’s best moment was when he said that he would have killed and shot Osama Bin Laden, and that is why he sent special groups of intelligent soldiers to take him out of the picture just as Seal Team 6 did. You can ask almost everyone in the United States if they believed that it was good that we have killed Bin Laden, and they will say yes. The President also caught Governor Romney in a few tricky statements like the ones previously stated about Iraq, leaving him a little confused.

Overall, the last presidential debate was good and ran smooth on the topic of Foreign Policy. Each candidate brought together views of their own, as well as statements about the other’s. We will all have to wait to see which candidate gets chosen the President of The United States, tonight, Tuesday November Sixth.

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