Romney should be answering just the question about Libya. That’s a really strong Republican talking point. Instead, he tried to force Iran, Syria, and Libya all into one answer. It’s an hour and half debate – he’ll get time to answer each of these in detail. -Sam Novack 9:07 p.m. This is a more collegiate, meatier debate. Echoes the substance of the VP debates without the theatrics. Now this is a presidential debate. -Rolph Recto 9:09 p.m. Obama is right to point to his numerous policy achievements: ending the War in Iraq, mercilessly pursuing Al Qaeda, and managing tricky situations in Libya, Egypt, and Syria. Romney seems to be harping endlessly on this embassy disaster, ignoring Obama’s reasoned, largely successful foreign policy achievements. -Russell Bogue 9:09 p.m. “The 1980’s are now calling to ask for their foreign policies back”. That was funny, Barack. Also, is Romney really in favor of increasing the number of troops in Iraq? I really hope that isn’t true. -Ashley Spinks 9:12 p.m. Romney continues to talk about values he wishes to instill in the Middle East—democracy, women’s rights, education, etc.—as if we all don’t wish to. But how does he plan to, other than “talking tough” and pandering to Israel? I really want to hear a plan, and I think we all do. -Russell Bogue 9:14 p.m. I respect the moderator for giving Romney extra time to respond to Obama’s allegations. He seems more balanced/objective than Candy of last week. Obama is correct in saying that consistency is necessary when explaining foreign policy/policy in general. Romney hasn’t shown a standard of opinion. He is kind of a flip-flopper, for lack of a more educated term. -Ashley Spinks 9:16 p.m. This Syria issue seems a weak debate topic. There is broad agreement between the two candidates, except for perhaps the provision of heavy weapons. Moreover, there is no right answer. It’s a quagmire, a hugely complicated issue, and one that any president, Republican or Democrat, would struggle to adequately address. -Russell Bogue 9:20 p.m. Going back a few minutes, I agree with Rolph. I like the format of this debate much better than the previous two. It’s much more collegiate and organized. The moderator isn’t messing around, either. -Ashley Spinks 9:22 p.m. This has been an interesting debate so far. Romney acting very moderate in foreign policy, while Obama also moves center, quoting Netanyahu’s “Red Line” and supporting Democracy abroad. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes… -Sam Novack 9:26 p.m. Obama’s policy seems to be that humanitarian intervention is not bad, but must be balanced with the personal responsibilities of the individual countries. I respect that. How do Romney’s views differ? I’m eager to hear his response. -Ashley Spinks 9:26 p.m. Didn’t take long for Romney to start making this into an economic issue. Do you have anything else in your bag of tricks, governor? -Katherine Ripley 9:28 p.m. I was almost with Romney there for a second…I agree with him that the task of policing world conflicts and promoting peace has fallen to the United States, and is not a burden but an “honor”. However, I didn’t feel it was necessary to drag Obama’s “bad economy” into the debate right now. -Ashley Spinks 9:29 p.m. Oh no, domestic policy is leaking into a foreign policy debate, from both Obama and Romney alike. Perhaps this is just cynicism, but I think that if there isn’t mention of the economy a lot less people would be listening. -Rolph Recto 9:33 p.m. I agree with Romney’s premise that we can’t worry about humanitarian, international spending while our economy is in a shambles, but then he went on to say that we need to “increase our military budget”. Does he know that 48% of the WORLD’s military spending is by the United States? The military already comprises a giant part of our budget. If we don’t have discretionary funds for international aid, we don’t have extra money for an already huge military, either. Obama proposes more spending on US manufacturing and education. Growth internally will make and keep America strong. -Ashley Spinks 9:33 p.m. I adore this moderator. So far this debate has been smooth. The questions have been clear, broad, and important. The rules have been abided by. He’s doing a great job. -Ashley Spinks 9:34 p.m. Both candidates are talking about the deficit. Romney’s “college graduates” remarks and Obama’s “ask the wealthy to pay a little bit more.” The energy debate. Now unemployment. I was under the impression that this was a foreign policy debate. -Sam Novack 9:34 p.m. One question, Mitt. Just one question. In what world do massive tax breaks and increased military spending lead to a balanced budget? Explain the math to me, please. -Russell Bogue 9:35 p.m. Bravo, Mr. President! Way to call out Romney for taking credit for an education policy that was there before him. This is the teeth we wanted to see in the first debate. -Rolph Recto 9:40 p.m. Obama is right— Romney has brought up “promoting small businesses” multiple times, but his record shows that he hasn’t really done anything to do this. Also, I like that Obama is directly quoting Romney’s former statements. Obama seems well-prepared without seeming rude or catty. This is a pet-peeve of mine: Mass. schools are NOT number 1 any longer. That is Maryland public schools. Romney keeps citing that statistic and as a Maryland native, it bothers me that it is blatantly untrue. Additionally, Obama is correct that many of the education policies were in place in MA before Romney took office. -Ashley Spinks 9:41 p.m. I just want to point out that it’s the job of Congress, not the President, to make and balance the budget. Perhaps we should point to our Legislative Branch’s failure on this front… -Russell Bogue 9:43 p.m. I am so sick of Romney mentioning his business experience and the Olympics. It’s just not germane, and even if it was, we’ve heard it all before. -Ashley Spinks 9:43 p.m. “The nature of our military has changed”. Thank you Obama, for pointing out the obvious. Romney’s statistic about the Navy, whether or not it is TRUE, simply doesn’t matter or prove anything. -Ashely Spinks 9:45 p.m. “We also have less horses and bayonets” — best line of the night. Romney’s talk of expanding the military seems incongruous with his talk of balancing budgets and keeping out of Syria. -Rolph Recto 9:46 p.m. The whole military question is really key here. Romney seems to believe that mo’ money, mo’ power. Doesn’t it take a more nuanced approach? Shouldn’t we look at wasteful spending, overspending, and needless spending, and aim to eliminate all three? It seems reasonable to me that we could cut our budget, make the military more efficient, and not compromise on national security. -Russell Bogue 9:48 p.m. Romney talks like a young gun who wants to prove himself a great leader: he has a more aggressive foreign policy, and he certainly focuses more on the military expansion. Obama seems like the pragmatic statesman who, four years later, has realized that bravado isn’t always the right attitude. -Rolph Recto 9:49 p.m. Obama can’t pretend that sanctions are having the desired effect – Iranian leaders don’t care about the sanctions. He says Iran will face a choice, but they’re not afraid of the choice. Even if the people are feeling the sanctions, the leaders are ignoring them and continuing with their nuclear program. Obama’s mistake has been a reluctance to openly align the United States with Israel. -Sam Novack 9:50 p.m. I actually agree with Romney that we need to place extreme pressure on Iran. Diplomacy has failed time and time again. We need to make life unbearable for that nation until its rulers eventually cede to the discontent of their people. -Russell Bogue 9:50 p.m. “Bob, let me just respond. Nothing that Governor Romney just said is true.” I think Obama said it all, guys. -Ashley Spinks 9:56 p.m. Finally, Pakistan. Our Achilles Heel. The ally who undermines us at every turn, abuses our leniency, supports terrorist groups, and terrorizes its own citizens. It’s high time we move away from our policy of tolerance. -Russell Bogue 10:10 p.m. “Obama Bin Laden” is the only goof up of ol’ Bob the Moderator. He’s doing a much better job than his liberal predecessors at keeping the ball rolling and asking pertinent questions to both candidates. Hope the guy is remembered as being an actual MODERATE moderator rather than his “Obama Bin Laden” remark – even though I know I got a chuckle out of it. -Sam Novack 10:11 p.m. Please, let’s talk about which candidate will do a better job of pissing off China—the most prominent and powerful rising global power, one of our biggest trading partners, and the holder of all our debt. Really good idea, fellas. -Russell Bogue 10:16 p.m. Obama is making some very important points about the situation in China. They do need to play by the rules of everyone else. We need to make it more difficult to “ship jobs overseas”; we do need to build manufacturing on our own land. -Ashley Spinks 10:17 p.m. All in all, I don’t think this final debate was a game-changer. In fact, I think both candidates went in with the intention of maintaining the status quo. Obama was talking “red lines”, support of Israel, and making China play by the rules, while Romney said no boots on the ground in Syria, and allow government aid for bankrupt auto companies. Despite several interruptions on both sides, this was the most moderate debate, with the most moderate moderator, of the campaign. I’d be surprised to hear if this one changed anyone’s mind – this one was an hour and a half of entertainment to political junkies like me, but otherwise, this debate carried little meaning. -Sam Novack 10:31 p.m. I think this was a sweep for Obama, but that’s not surprising. It was his strength, and always has been. He was a bit snarkier than usual, perhaps snarkier than necessary, but it is a welcome departure from his complacency in the first debate. -Russell Bogue 10:34 p.m.