On Monday, October 22, the Democratic and Republican candidate for President faced off for the third, and last, time just 15 days prior to when voters across the United States go to the polls. President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney discussed foreign policy for an hour-and-a-half at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL. This final debate of the quadrennial debate season was moderated by Bob Schieffer, Chief Washington Correspondent and Moderator for Face the Nation.
Topics for the night ranged from Libya and Syria concerning the “challenge of a changing Middle East” as Schieffer said, to foreign alliances, a global education for students in the United States to be able to compete against their peers from other nations, to red lines with Israel and a nuclear Iran.
Since last Tuesday’s town hall-style debate at Hofstra University, the tension was building more and more between the candidates with each day that passed. After talking domestic issues and responding to the various questions from undecided voters in the local area, with the Vice Presidential debate slipped in between, the two contenders were starting to prep for their last shot on Television in front of a vast audience across the country. The time had come, and everything was in place. Each major channel was tuned to the live broadcast and, after having a news anchor from their own station provide some pre-debate commentary and explanation, they all panned to the cameras in the Lynn University Performing Arts Center. Schieffer, at the ready, sat in his chair. Once Obama and Romney shook hands with each other and the moderator, they began the debate.
It started with discussion of how to improve the situation in the Middle East, and then broadened to other areas and segments like America’s longest war inside Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Later in the debate, Romney mentioned, once again, the President’s “apology tour,” when he visited several countries in the Middle East and talked to various leaders in the area.
Wrapping up in the waning minutes, before they delivered closing remarks, Schieffer asked the two candidates about “the rise of [the People’s Republic of] China” and possible future threats from around the world.
Unlike the first debate in Denver, but similar to the town hall, Washington Post columnist, NPR and MSNBC commentator, and recent author of Our Divided Political Heart, E.J. Dionne tweeted a few hours after the last debate that he considered “the third debate…the first debate in reverse.”
Jake Pitochelli, a sophomore at Suffolk majoring in Marketing, thought the last debate was “a clear victory for Obama,” and that “Romney seemed to hug Obama’s foreign policies very close to his own because there aren’t major differences.”
Pitochelli went on to explain that he hoped “there was more discussion on Latin America, Africa, and child labor abroad.”
However, in the end, he stated, “all in all Obama was knowledgeable, authentic, and presidential and further solidified why he’s got my vote.”
With just under two weeks left until Election Day on Nov. 6, each party is preparing and producing the best last push in the remaining days, with numerous Get Out The Vote rallies and campaigning across the states, but particularly in battleground states that are quite likely to determine the outcome of the 2012 presidential race (like Florida, Nevada, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Ohio.) It is just a matter of money, time, and better political management that will bring one candidate to victory and the other to a not-so-great loss. After months of traveling, after millions of dollars on both sides being put into hundreds of ads, after campaigning in all the states, Obama and Romney now have the finish line in sight. Who comes out on top is up to American voters.