Here are some video highlights from the third debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
Middle East and southeast Asia: Obama criticized Romney for having a strategy that went “all over the map.” Romney didn’t yield, saying prospects for the region in the wake of the Arab Spring haven’t lived up to expectations. “We can’t kill our way out of this,” he said.
Syria: Obama and Romney found common ground here: they both oppose sending troops there. Romney, though, said he was concerned about the US taking a back seat to the UN and Russia. Obama urged patience. “I am confident that Assad’s days are numbered,” he said.
Israel and the threat of Iran: “We have [Israel’s] back,” Romney said. Both candidates agreed that a nuclear-capable Iran was “unacceptable.” Romney said he wants to see sanctions on the Iranian economy tightened. He also said he would push for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s indictment on charges of genocide.
Afghanistan and Pakistan: Obama said the US is now in a position to transition security chores in Afghanistan to the native forces, while also arguing that the military coalition there needed to leave “responsibly.” On Pakistan, Romney said the US can’t abandon support for its government, but conditions should be attached to any foreign aid. “We’re going to have to work with the people in Pakistan to get them to move to a more responsible course,” he said.
Military spending: President Obama questioned how Romney could cut taxes and increase military spending. Obama said current military spending “is driven by strategy — it’s not driven by politics.”
Economy and its role in foreign affairs: Yes, this was a foreign policy-themed debate, but domestic issues did get a fair bit of play. Romney argued that for the US to be effective on the world stage, it needed a robust economy. Obama said the country was in better shape than when he took office.
Line of the night? Getting back to defense spending, Obama laid into Romney pretty good, with Romney noting the marked decrease in the Navy’s fleet in recent decades. “Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets.”
Oops: The faux pas of the debate came from Bob Schieffer, the CBS News anchor who moderated the debate. When talking about Pakistan, Schieffer referred to the terror mastermind who hid there — “Obama bin Laden.”