Debate Coverage | Obama, Romney spar on foreign policy
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 08:10
In Pearson Chemical Laboratory and across campus, members of the Tufts community gathered last night to watch the third and final debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in their bid for the election next month.
The candidates stated their views on America’s role in the world, the war in Afghanistan, Israel and Iran, the changing Middle East, terrorism and China during the foreign policy debate, which was moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS. For 90 minutes, Romney and Obama criticized each other’s approaches to diplomacy.
Romney opened the debate by attacking his opponent on his policies in the Middle East.
“We can’t kill our way out of this mess,” he said, criticizing Obama for focusing too much on killing America’s enemies in the region and not enough on soft power.
Obama defended his administration’s actions in Libya and in the Middle East and cited his diplomatic skills in Israel.
“I didn’t take donors,” as Romney did during his visit to Israel, Obama said. The president went on to cite his success in ordering the killing of Osama bin Laden, something he said his administration “moved heaven and Earth” to do.
Romney took the chance to emphasize that his plans to increase spending on defense would be balanced out by reforming domestic entitlement programs as part of a promise to balance the U.S. budget by the end of a second term as president.
“I’ll get us on track,” he said.
The candidates agreed on the president’s use of drones in the fight against terrorists abroad.
On China, the candidates emphasized the danger of a trade imbalance with the country. Romney repeated his promise to label China a “currency manipulator” and said it could be a U.S. partner as long as it followed the rules. He criticized Obama for what he said was a soft position on China’s currency policies. Obama hit back with a zinger referencing Romney’s time at Bain Capital.
“You are familiar with shipping jobs overseas because you invested in companies shipping jobs overseas,” Obama told his opponent.
The debate came at a particularly tense moment in the election, with voting day just around the corner and many polls showing the two campaigns neck and neck.
Jumbos who came to watch the debate together in Pearson stayed after the stage was clear to weigh the results of the election.
“It showed that there’s a great deal of consensus on a rather hawkish policy on a number of issues like Iran, Israel and the drone war,” Mark Rafferty, a senior, said.