Finale in Florida: The third Presidential debate
The final debate of the 2012 Presidential election was held Monday night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. With Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama tied for wins, tensions ran high.
Seated next to each other, the candidates debated six questions on foreign policy selected by CBS moderator Bob Schieffer. Romney, whose last debate had failed to capitalise on Obama’s shaky handling of the Benghazi strikes, was anxious for a second assault. The President knew touting his reputable record and deflecting questions on the recent attacks may be enough to win the night. Though with the first question focusing solely on that topic, each candidate prepared for a showdown.
What should have been the tour-de-force attack was fumbled. Romney’s attempt to appeal to the hearts and minds of the audience felt short and scripted. The Grand Old Party (GOP) contender, who over the last two debates had shaken off his scripted nature, deflated during what was supposed to be his big moment. He would spend the rest of the night trying to catch up.
Like his foreign policy, the President was there to strike. Obama had already seized the evening at the conclusion of his first answer. A confidence in manner allowed the incumbent to defend his record and, more importantly, defy his opponent. Obama’s snarky accusations at Romney’s record of flip-flopping were met with little defiance. Criticisms were worsened when the President pointed out subjects the GOP nominee agreed with him on – a major appeal to undecided voters.
It would be unfair not to mention Romney’s few shining moments. Deflecting an attack about his negative comments on Russia, the Governor chastised Obama’s “rose-coloured glasses” relationship with president Vladimir Putin. The GOP candidate also gathered momentum when conversation turned toward the economy, despite it being a foreign policy debate. Though sadly for Romney, each advance was quickly quashed by the President.
As the evening ended with closing arguments, Romney and Obama repeated the rhetoric voters have heard over the past eight months. At this point in the election, most people have made up their minds and view the debate as a perfunctory event. Romney, who even shocked the GOP at his resurgence, has struggled to stay balanced with Obama. The President’s first debate flop cost him a comfortable lead, but the past two-performance wins have not gone unnoticed.
However, even with the final debate perceived as a win for President Obama, the election is still up in the air.