Photo Credit: Rick Wilking-Pool/Getty Images
Mitt Romney was sweating bullets last night. At least it looked that way during the third and final presidential debate. With two weeks until the election and polls showing Romney tightening Barack Obama’s lead -- especially among women voters -- he looked off his game last night.
On display was “Moderate Mitt,” who agreed with almost everything President Obama had to say about foreign policy -- from the timetable for drawing down troops in Afghanistan and wanting peace around the world to Osama Bin Laden’s death. It appeared as though Romney’s plan for last night was to be Obama-ier than, well, Obama.
Which is to say Romney not only flip-flopped and backtracked, but also did a complete 180 on his previous policy points. Gone was the extreme conservative and in came Romney’s marketing plan to gain as many undecided votes as possible. Romney’s plan was to shrink the distinction between his and Obama’s points on war, Iran’s potential for nuclear weapons and what exactly happened in Benghazi. Also included was getting tough on Vladimir Putin, China as a “currency manipulator” and, for good measure, teacher compensation.
It was as if Romney crammed hard for his foreign policy debate; staying up all night in order to regurgitate facts and figures without first and foremost understanding the context of those facts and figures. Romney’s cram session led him to walk right into Obama’s catchphrase of the night, which lit up Twitter and Facebook.
While discussing the size of the Navy, Romney chided Obama for the dwindling amount of ships within the fleet, which, according to Romney, is the lowest it’s been since 1916. President Obama responded by saying, “Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed.”
He continued, “We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go under water, nuclear submarines.”
It was a zinger if there ever was one, and the audience -- who swore to a vow of silence -- could be heard laughing off in the distance. But Obama remained serious while he delivered his zing, which made Romney look even more like a policy buffoon.
Romney didn’t know what to do, so he channeled his inner Richard Nixon and started sweating, literally.
While the second debate was about drawing succinct differences between the candidates, this third and final debate seemed to say: here is the Commander-in-Chief and over there is a guy that likes to pretend. Romney came in with a marketing plan and, according to post-debate polling, left the loser.
With two weeks left until Election Day, President Obama has already won my vote and continues to remain in the lead nationwide. The final debate probably did little to sway voters who have already made up their minds and, maybe, swayed a few undecided voters. But the lines have been drawn: Do we want a president or a former governor that pretends to be presidential?
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