The Final Debate: Strong and Steady

In the final 2012 presidential debate, President Obama dominated—outlining a clear vision to make Americans safer and maintain our country’s leadership in the world. Governor Romney was all over the map, with an unclear and uncertain performance that showed once again he is not ready to be commander in chief. Across the table, President Obama projected strong and steady leadership, showing how he’s been able to restore respect for America around the world and keep our country safe over the past four years.

Here were some of the highlights.

On national security:

“My first job as commander in chief … is to keep the American people safe. That’s what we’ve done over the last four years. We ended the war in Iraq, refocused our attention on those who actually killed us on 9/11. And as a consequence, al Qaeda’s core leadership has been decimated. In addition, we are now able to transition out of Afghanistan in a responsible way, making sure that Afghans take responsibility for their own security, and that allows us also to rebuild alliances and make friends around the world to combat future threats.”

On bringing Osama bin Laden to justice:

“I said if I had bin Laden in our view, I would take a shot. [Governor Romney] said we should ask Pakistan for permission. If we asked Pakistan for permission, we would not have gotten it. It was worth ‘moving heaven and earth’ to get him.”

On Romney’s blundering foreign policy statements over the course of the campaign:

“A few months ago when you [were asked] what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia. Not al Qaeda. Russia. The 1980′s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back. The Cold War has been over for 20 years, but, Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.”

And on Romney’s plan to add $2 trillion in military spending the Pentagon isn’t asking for, without saying how he’d pay for it:

“I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them, we have these ships that go under water, nuclear submarines, and so the question is not a game of ‘Battleship’ where we’re counting ships, it’s what are our capabilities. And so when I sit down with the Secretary of the Navy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we determine how are we going to be best able to meet all of our Defense needs in a way that also keeps faith with our troops that also makes sure that our veterans have the kind of support that they need when they come home, and that is not reflected in the kind of budget that you’re putting forward because it just doesn’t work.”

In his closing remarks, President Obama outlined the choice that Americans now have before them:

“You’ve now heard three debates, months of campaigning, and way too many TV commercials, and now you’ve got a choice.

“Over the last four years, we’ve made real progress digging our way out of policies that gave us two prolonged wars, record deficits, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And Governor Romney wants to take us back to those policies. A foreign policy that’s wrong and reckless, economic policies that won’t create jobs, won’t reduce our deficit, but will make sure that folks at the very top don’t have to play by the same rules that you do.”

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