The presidential debate on Monday night was much-anticipated by political junkies across the country. The outcome of this last debate was uncertain in the days leading up to the event – political commentators widely agreed that Mitt Romney won the first debate and that Romney and Obama had tied in their second debate. I believe that Obama won the third debate, not because of my own personal political biases, but for two reasons: the topic of foreign policy was better suited to Obama’s experience and Obama was better prepared for the debate, as evidenced by his strong responses to Romney. Despite who won, one thing that stood out to me was that both politicians had strikingly similar views on a number of topics.
Throughout the debate, Obama seemed much more prepared than Mitt Romney. Foreign policy is a topic that Obama is already well-equipped to debate, given his experience serving as commander in chief and his long-standing interest in foreign affairs. Obama did not hesitate to attack Romney and even mock his knowledge of military needs and foreign affairs. He came across as confident and relaxed, and was prepared with quick retorts to Romney’s responses. Romney seemed to stutter at some points in the debate and did not seem as prepared as Obama.
One thing that stood out was how much Obama and Romney agreed on various foreign policy tactics. For example, both politicians said that they would stand with Israel in case of an attack on the country, and they both repeatedly affirmed the U.S.’s solidarity with Israel. Also, both men emphasized the need to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and the importance of tough sanctions. Most Americans are unaware of the civilian deaths caused by drone strikes, so it was unsurprising that Romney agreed with Obama’s position that the U.S. should continue to use drones in Pakistan. Finally, both men agreed that it was necessary to intervene in Libya but that the U.S. should not take preemptive action in Iran – and that sending our military to Iran should be a last resort.