Reporting Jack Fink
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – The third and final presidential debate was not nearly as combative as their past encounter, but both President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney still threw political punches over Israel, Iran and the U.S. military.
Even so, at times the debate held Monday night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida sounded more like the previous two debates because both of the candidates discussed their differences on the U.S. economy, jobs and schools — not foreign policy, the intended focus of the debate. More than once, moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News had to say that he wanted to get back to foreign policy.
In one of their sharper exchanges, Romney accused the President of not supporting Israel enough and not visiting the Jewish state at all during his presidency. Romney said, “You went to the Middle East. You flew to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, 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 you skipped Israel. And then, in those nations on Arabic TV, you said America had been dismissive and derisive. You said America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations, we have freed other nations from dictators.”
President Obama then responded, “When I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn’t take donors. I didn’t attend fundraisers. I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil, and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable. The central question at this point is who’s going to be credible to all parties involved.”
Both the President and Romney also butted heads when it came to military spending. The President said that Romney wanted to increase spending that the military isn’t requesting, while Romney accused the President of wanting to cut the military’s budget too sharply. “Our Navy is smaller now than at anytime since 1917. The Navy said they need 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re down to 285, and we’re headed to the low 200s if we head to sequestration. That’s unacceptable to me. I want to make sure we have the ships requested by our Navy. Our Air Force is older and smaller since anytime it was founded.”
The President shot back, “Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonettes because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have ships that go under water, nuclear submarines. So, the question is not a game of battleships.”
Many viewers watched the debate with CBSDFW.COM on Twitter and Facebook. Here are a couple of your comments.
Mike Little said, “Romney is making Obama look like the failure that he is.”
Amie Roberts said, “I do think Obama is killing it on this debate, he is pointing out all of the flip flopping that Mitt has done daily.”
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