Political pundits are weighing in on the third and final US presidential debate, which was held Monday night.
A CNN poll done right after the debate gave the edge to President Barack Obama over Republican rival Mitt Romney, with 48 per cent of voters believing the president persevered. This also means Obama won two out of the three debates.
“The president certainly drove this debate. He was much more confident, he was more commanding,” CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein said.
Obama also delivered the line of the night after Romney pressed him on military spending.
“I think maybe Governor Romney hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works,” Obama said. “You mention the navy, for example. We have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets.”
Romney often tried to steer the discussion toward the economy, even though the focus of the debate was foreign policy.
“For us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong,” Romney said. “That begins with a strong economy here at home, and unfortunately, the economy is not strong.”
Luiza Savage, Washington Bureau Chief for Maclean’s Magazine, says it was a very interesting debate.
“here you have Romney agreeing with the president a lot, definitely the president landing more zingers and being more aggressive. But even though Romney may have lost on points in the back and forth, he did a lot of good for his own campaign,” says Savage.
She says Romney did sound very presidential in his answers.
He had a good temperament, didn’t get upset. He didn’t call something ‘Beki-bekistan’, he didn’t make any major mistakes,” Savage believes. “But more importantly, he really showed a moderate tone and approach to foreign policy using the word peace repeatedly and really driving home the point he is not George W. Bush, out to start new wars in the Middle East, and that he agrees with a lot of the things the president is doing, although he would do them slightly differently.”
With two weeks to go before Americans go to the polls, Savage says it is a very tight race.
“It’s an absolute dead heat. You saw in the first debate Romney come roaring back after a terrible couple of weeks. People who were discouraged about his candidacy flooded back to him. Since then, it’s basically been tied, though the President still has a slight edge in the swing states.”
Meanwhile, Twitter reported around 6.5-million tweets during this debate — 3.5-million fewer Tweets compared to the first presidential face-off.
However, tweets peaked at 105,767 per minute when Obama said the “fewer horses and bayonets” comment, in his criticism of Romney’s foreign policy strategy on the Middle East.