In the third and final presidential debate Monday night in Boca Raton, Florida, President Obama and Mitt Romney were supposed to duke it out over foreign policy. However, Romney put in a surprisingly docile performance compared to his previous efforts, in which he hammered Obama over his stewardship of the economy. On Monday, Romney was more inclined to agree with Obama on issues ranging from Afghanistan to Iran, though he was livelier when the debate veered into domestic issues. Obama was far more aggressive, hoping to stem Romney's recent surge in the polls. Who won?
Obama: The president attacked Romney with vigor, hoping to disqualify Romney as a potential commander-in-chief. Obama dinged Romney for flip-flopping, being naive, and engaging in reckless saber-rattling. A CBS snap poll found that 53 percent of viewers thought Obama won, compared with 23 percent for Romney.
The American Prospect's Jamelle Bouie:
Obama did well at this debate, which makes me even more pissed about the first debate.— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) October 23, 2012
The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza:
Obama's strongest debate. Romney's weakest. But will it matter? #lynndebate— The Fix (@TheFix) October 23, 2012
The Atlantic's Joshua Green:
I thought Romney lost, but said little to dissuade voters trending his way--and thus won. Thought O was a bit condescending.— Joshua Green (@JoshuaGreen) October 23, 2012
Romney: With Romney refusing to fight back, and responding to each attack with unflappable smiles, Obama's attacks rubbed some the wrong way. And overall, the GOP candidate put in the more intriguing performance, seemingly ceding the issue of foreign policy to the president. Many praised him for "looking presidential" and appearing moderate, which could help voters see Romney as a credible commander-in-chief. And perhaps that's all Romney needed to do.
Business Insider's Joseph Wiesenthal:
VERDICT: Mitt Romney thinks he's won the election, and just played not to lose read.bi/T7GVVu— Joseph Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) October 23, 2012
The American Conservative's Scott Galupo:
Obama wins Round 3, but Romney probably passed commander-and-chief audition. Quick take: not much will change.— Scott Galupo (@ScottGalupo) October 23, 2012
NBC's Chuck Todd:
Romney seemed so focus on being "acceptable" that he didn't see the need to either respond to criticism or draw many distinctions. Too safe?— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) October 23, 2012
The National Review's Rich Lowry:
romney looks/sounds like a president— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) October 23, 2012
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