Obama Delivers Knock-Out in Final Debate
10/23/2012, 4:35 a.m.
President Barack Obama came prepared to be tough in Monday's final debate with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and he won, portraying his moderate Republican opponent as an unstable leader.
During the 90-minute face-off on foreign policy, which was moderated by CBS News' Bob Schieffer and held at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., Obama took an aggressive stance citing that it's been under his leadership that the war in Iraq has ended, brought Osama bin Laden to justice, restored America's standing around the world and effected a reduced threat of loose nuclear material.
"My job is to keep the American people safe and that's what I've done," said Obama. "When we received the phone call [about the attack in Libya] we did everything to secure Americans in harm's way . . . We will go after those who killed Americans and bring them to justice."
Romney, who agreed with Obama on many foreign policy issues, countered that his strategy is to go after the bad guys as well. However, "We must be able to get the Muslim world to reject extremism on its own . . . We have to help nations create civil societies."
Obama responded in part that he's made sure "those (Muslim) countries are supporting our counter terrorism efforts, and that we recognize we can't continue to do nation-building in those regions," when it's particularly needed at home.
Other highlights of the debate included these statements:
Romney: "It is important that we see Syria as a friend and an important party in the Mideast."
Obama: "We've been neglecting developing our economy while trying to develop leadership in other countries."
Romney: "Our purpose is to make sure the world is more peaceful, and that mantle has fallen on America."
Obama: "Romney has taken a different approach throughout the campaign with wrong and reckless policies."
Romney: "[When elected] I will increase trade . . . especially in Latin America".
Obama: "Israel is a true friend, ally. . . We will stand with Israel if they are attacked."
Romney: "When I'm president, we will stand with Israel. Our mission is to dissuade Iran from having nuclear weapons."
Obama: "Our goal is to get Iran to realize it needs to give up its nuclear program."
Romney: "Iran has found weaknesses in the [Obama] administration."
Obama: "Afghanistan was America's longest war; will have troops out by 2014."
Romney: "What happens in Pakistan will have a major impact on what happens in Afghanistan . . . Not time to divorce Pakistan. It has no civilian leadership that's calling the shots."
Both Obama and Romney agreed that while America can work with China, it has to play by the rules. "From day one, I labeled them a currency manipulator," said Romney. "I want a great relationship with China, but they can't just roll all over us." Again, Obama agreed.
However, in his closing remarks Obama said Romney wants to take America back to policies the country has spent the past four years digging its way out of. "I want to ask the wealthy to do a little more," Obama said.
Romney promised that when he's elected to get people back to work. "We have to have a president who can work across the aisle," he said. "[Washington,] D.C. is broken and I know what it takes to get it back."
Political strategist Donna Brazile said that hands down, Obama was the clear winner in the debate.
"This thing is so close right now that both sides have got to go after their base," Brazile said. "But Barack Obama won because he had a strategy that this is a time to have a strong leader in the White House."