I again watched the debate at a debate watch party at the Republican Party storefront office in Green Hills.
In my view, the debate was a tie or maybe a slight win for Romney. Romney appeared calm and collected: Obama appeared contemptuous and irritated. I think Romney made no mistakes that would detour the momentum of the campaign and Obama was not reassuring and was not able to paint Romney as reckless or adventurous in foreign policy.
I thought a high point for President Obama was when he dismissed Romney's charge that we have fewer Navy ships than we did in 1917. I or course, do not know what the correct number of ships are that we need but I thought Obama's logic was valid. In a different era when troops can be ferried by air to trouble spots around the world, we may not need as many ships as at some point in the past.
I thought a high point for Romney was when he described President Obama's Apology tour of the Mid-East.
....the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And by the way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations.
And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. And then in those nations, and on Arabic TV, you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations.
Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.
That needed to be said!
I also think Romney presented a good argument is saying that Iran is four years closer to a nuclear bomb and that we have wasted the last four years and should be taking stronger actions against Iran.
On many points Romney and Obama agreed and often where there was disagreement if was minor and nuanced, not polar opposites. In many cases it just comes down to who you trust more to execute American foreign policy.
I am not sure how the debate will play with most Americans. The American people are war-weary and I am not sure they want to maintain vigilantes in the world. I, however, think we must remain strong. The world is still a dangerous place and we must stay engaged. To keep the peace we must maintain strength.
Romney did not come across as hawkish or bombastic. I think he came across as steady and serious and presidential. I think Obama came across as weak and indecisive. I hope America sees it that way.
For a video and text of the debate, follow this link.