The third debate between Romney and Obama shaped up to be a lively affair. The expecations of the debate, though, clearly played out to Romney's favor as he provided clear, cogent analysis throughout the debate on how he would play the role of commander-in-chief. Here are some key lines throughout the debate:
"Syria is Iran's only ally in the Arab world. It's their route to the sea. It's the route for them to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, which threatens, of course, our ally, Israel. And so seeing Syria remove Assad is a very high priority for us. Number two, seeing a ... a replacement government being responsible people is critical for us."
This provides some depth of understanding of the issues surrounding Syria. It doesn't take deep security clearance to know the impact the Syrian conflict is having on the Middle East. This section gave Romney serious street cred on the conflict and the much broader issues surrounding the Middle East.
"That's why on day one I will label them a currency manipulator which allows us to apply tariffs where they're taking jobs. They're stealing our intellectual property, our patents, our designs, our technology, hacking into our computers, counterfeiting our goods. They have to understand, we want to trade with them, we want a world that's stable, we like free enterprise, but you got to play by the rules."
China is an issue in the debate that got far to little attention, but Romney's biggest liability on the issue coming in was the "currency manipulator" comment. Schieffer tried to pin him on this issue, but Romney's response was phenomenal. Currency manipulation is a sign that we're already in a trade war with China. Their consistent manipulation of intellectual property rights, currency, and trade policy are stealing American jobs. His liability turned out to be a strong piece of his presentation this evening.
"Well, first of all, it's not government that makes business successful. It's not government investments that make businesses grow and hire people."
The entire night, Obama tried to take this debate back to the economy. Bad move, because voters are consistently weighing in that Romney is better positioned to lead on that. After the last debate, Romney outpolled Obama on issues of taxes, the budget deficit, and having a clear plan to put Americans back to work. Romney again owned the issues tonight.
All told, Romney came out of this debate the winning candidate because it should have been Obama's from the start. He's been the President, he's set the foreign policy for the last four years. He has first-hand knowledge of the facts that Romney doesn't. However, Romney still came out the more persuasive speaker and as having a clear grasp of the foreign policy challenges facing the United States. This debate will only serve to consolidate his gains from the past few weeks heading forward.
For full debate recap and analysis, see here.