The third and final presidential debate took place last week. The topic of the debate was foreign policy, a big topic for both candidates and one of interest to the international community too.
For the final debate, which took place in the historical context of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Obama and Governor Romney were seated in close proximity to one another.
In the framework of questions of national security both candidates used the chance, yet again, to attack each other in the context of attacks on America.
With troops still stationed in both Iraq and Afghanistan and recent events in Libya, the issue of foreign policy and the threat of terrorism remains an important issue amongst the American electorate.
Obama improved on his performance from the first debate once more, whilst Romney failed to match the initial enthusiasm he showed in earlier meetings.
Speaking on foreign policy decision making, Obama ridiculed Romney’s claim that Russia was the US’s biggest geo-political threat and told him the 1980s wanted their foreign policy back. To which the Republican presidential candidate responded with ‘Attacking me is not an agenda.’
A reference to horses and bayonets was yet another of Obama’s digs at Romney. Romney spoke of the reduction in ships in comparison to 1916, in response Obama said: “Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”
He then went on to explain aircraft carriers to Romney. Obama’s horses and bayonets comment was a hit across social media, becoming a trending topic on Twitter.
Romney’s obvious inexperience allowed Obama to shine, and with Obama’s repeated assertion of his position as Commander-in-Chief he used his insight in the area to an advantage.
Romney was mostly on the attack, criticising the current administrations’ policies. He argued for strong American leadership without the involvement of American military in the Middle East, with regards to Syria.
At times the debate steered off the topic of foreign policy as both Romney and Obama took the opportunity to remind voters of why they were the better candidate overall.
The first debate closed the gap between Obama and Romney and successive debates are thought to have had a similar effect on polling. Obama is still thought to be the favourite and with the disruption to campaigning caused by hurricane Sandy, the race for the Whitehouse means increased unpredictability.