President Obama vs. Mitt Romney: Who won the final presidential debate?

In the tamest of the three presidential debates, the GOP candidate and the Democratic incumbent tangle on foreign policy and national security

President Obama attacked early and often in the third and final presidential debate, while Mitt Romney seemed content to play the role of measured-and-reasonable alternative.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

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:

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The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza:

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The Atlantic's Joshua Green:

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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:

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The American Conservative's Scott Galupo:

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NBC's Chuck Todd:

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The National Review's Rich Lowry:

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Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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