In a presidential debate largely lacking the combativeness of last week's town hall, President Obama and Mitt Romney both seemed to achieve their goals in Monday's foreign-policy face-off.
President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney each used Monday night’s third and final debate to try to close the deal with a divided American electorate.
In a debate without any glaring gaffes and largely held in a more congenial tone than the combative encounter of last week, both men seemed to accomplish what they may have set out to do: Mr. Romney to come across as an acceptable commander in chief, Mr. Obama to portray a successful presidency while planting seeds of doubt about a challenger who recently has had the momentum.
While the debate’s theme was ostensibly foreign policy, both candidates time and again brought their answers back to the domestic economy, jobs, and who would do the better job of building an America for the 21st century.
“After a decade of war, I think we all recognize we have to do some nation-building at home,” Obama said more than once.
“I certainly don’t want to go back to the policies of the last four years,” Romney retorted. “It hasn’t worked.”
Within that common goal of steering the discussion to the economy, each candidate seemed to have a particular agenda for the evening. The president seemed intent on portraying his challenger as someone “all over the map,” who lacks the kind of resolve required of the commander in chief. “You keep trying to airbrush history,” Obama told Romney at one point. “Your strategy [on Libya] has been all over the map,” he said at another point.