At the final presidential debate Monday night in Boca Raton, Florida, President Obama bolted out of the starting gates with a flurry of attacks on Mitt Romney's foreign policy proposals. "The 1980s called — they want their foreign policy back," Obama snapped at one point, referring to Romney's assertion that Russia was the U.S.'s top geopolitical foe. "No finger-pointing yet," says Adam Nagourney at The New York Times, "but Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney are talking over each other, challenging each other's facts and veracity, as Mr. Obama comes in — again — seemingly intent on not giving an inch to Mr. Romney after his disastrous first debate." Here, some reactions from the Twitterverse:
POTUS methodically pushing back on Romney in a number of areas. POTUS acting like a candidate who feels he needs to win this debate tonight— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) October 23, 2012
Obama has been on constant attack since the debate began. My guess is it only works if it gets under Romney's skin.— Matt K. Lewis (@mattklewis) October 23, 2012
They've studied the tapes and concluded knocking Mitt off his game quick and hardis the way to go.— Franklin Foer (@FranklinFoer) October 23, 2012
For his part, Romney appeared reluctant to get in a scrappy fight. He congratulated Obama on ordering the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Sounding like a foreign policy dove, he focused on women's equality in the Middle East and economic development, and said, "We can't kill our way out of this mess." He also declined to attack Obama on the administration's response to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. However, he did ding Obama for telling Russian officials that he would wait until after the presidential election before negotiating a missile shield in Europe. Many commented that it was part of Romney's attempt to look presidential:
Not a word on Benghazi!— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) October 23, 2012
"I'm not going to tell Putin that he will get more flexibility after the election... I'll tell him he'll get more back bone." - Romney— Emily Miller (@EmilyMiller) October 23, 2012
Romney's entire message is now 'soft power'- Eco development, education, gender equality -- COMPLETELY different than what he said last week— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) October 23, 2012
Romney eschewing hard power like crazy #debate— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) October 23, 2012
Romney clearly making bid to look presidential rather than go on attack. #debate— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) October 23, 2012
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- The constant struggle of running a family farm in 21st century America
- How to stop misogynists from terrorizing the world of gamers
Subscribe to the Week