Last night, many across the United States were torn between watching the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League Championship, Monday Night Football, or the Presidential debates. I can tell you that my remote got quite the workout last night. Which begs the question: How many people actually watched the debates? Fox had a record turnout
For those that did (or at least saw portions), you saw similar theater as you saw in the previous debates with Mitt Romney attacking President Obama’s record and Obama attacking Romney’s ideas. The biggest gaffe of the night didn’t come from either one of the candidates but from the moderator who referred to Usama Bin Ladin by Obama’s Bin Ladin (see clip below courtesy of the Huffington Post)
I believe that Romney won this debate which should provide some sound bites for those who got a chance to watch and for those who will watch the highlights.
According to The Telegraph:
Romney won the third presidential debate – and how he did it was encapsulated in a single exchange. The candidates were discussing military spending and Romney had just accused Obama of making harmful cutbacks. The President wheeled out what must have seemed like a great, pre-planned zinger: “I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military’s changed.”
Where a disagreement did exist was on the question of leadership; Romney wants to be proactive and Obama pledges to remain reactive. Nevertheless, both seem committed to nation building overseas – with Obama throwing in the caveat that he’d like to do some nation building at home, too. The real difference was in style. In his closing statement – after Obama was done making the Ace of Spades disappear – Romney channelled Reagan by looking straight into the camera and asserting his faith in America. It was empty, sugary stuff that will make liberals sick. But it was infinitely preferable to Obama’s constant, nasty attacks. Sometimes in life, the nice guys do win.
We also have to judge this debate as part of the narrative arc of this season. Romney won the first debate by a mile. Because Romney’s win was so decisive, it sparked an image change: Americans started to think of him as presidential material. That’s why Obama winning the second debate by an inch made little impact – people were watching Romney not to see him land punches but to see how well he could take them. He won the third debate because, by the end of the night, his and Obama’s positions in the narrative arc had switched. Romney now looks like the President and Obama looks like the challenger.
We are now in the final 2 week sprint to election day and both candidates are off to hit battleground states around the country.