Welcome, and thanks for joining Carolina Journal and John Locke Foundation staffers as we provide live commentary on the debate between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney from Boca Raton, Fla.
As always, all opinions belong to the author. Thanks for dropping by!
Becki Gray - 10:51 PM
The round table was a good format and Shieffer gave them a lot of room to talk.
I thought Obama was petty and condescending. “I’m glad you recognize Al Qaeda is a threat” Romney was well prepared and thoughtful. Both were serious. President argued his points well but his record didn’t stand up to his rhetoric. It’s difficult for anyone to defend his policies. Romney came across with big ideas with persuasive conviction.
This debate was supposed to be about foreign policy. We heard about the auto industry bailouts, the deficit, the economy, energy and education as well.
At the end of the day, who do you want at the end of that red phone when it rings at 2:00 in the morning? Go vote.
Rick Henderson - 10:40 PM
Don’t forget: We’ll be back Wednesday at 7 for the (whew) final gubernatorial debate. Y’all come back now, y’hear?
Becki Gray - 10:38 PM
Per Fox News the time allocation for the debate was as follows:
Obama: 42 minutes; 11 seconds
Romney: 41 minutes; 30 seconds
Rick Henderson - 10:36 PM
Debates one and three merely reinforce the lameness of the town hall format. Get rid of it!
Becki Gray - 10:35 PM
Shieffer ends it withe the words of his mom: Go vote. Makes you feel big and strong.
Wives and Romney family join the candidates on stage.
Rick Henderson - 10:34 PM
They meet at center stage, shake hands and laugh. Debates are over. Two weeks to go …
Barry Smith - 10:34 PM
It was a vigorous debate.
Romney did more than hold his own in this debate. He was quite assertive, and could give details about how he’d handle foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East.
Obama tried to attack Romney’s foreign policy acumen. He had to resort to the killing of bin Laden.
While Obama’s performance was better than his first debate, Romney seemed to be a bit more assertive.
By the way, Bob Schieffer’s performance was light years better than Candy Crowley’s performance last week. At least he didn’t try to join the debate the way she did.
Becki Gray - 10:33 PM
Obama: It’s Bush’s fault. Rich people should pay more. He;ll bring manufactruing jobs back, best education system int he world, control energy sources, wants wealthy to do a little bit more, maintain strong military. We’ve beent hrough tough times but we can get through this together, Give me four more years.
Romney: Excited and optimistic, wants peace, real leadership, promote principles of peace, get the economy going with a balanced budget (not deficit), people back to work (not his record unemployment) I can work across the aisle. Now it’s our turn to take the torch to make the great nation as the hope of the earth.
Dan E. Way - 10:33 PM
Romney closing statement: he’s optimistic about our future. He wants to see growing peace. He will be leader who can make Americans more confident their future is more secure. Two paths before people. Obama will get us to 20 trillion in debt. Romney will get people off food stamps not by cutting them but by creating jobs. America needs a president who can work across the aisle. “Washington is broken.” He worked with bipartisan methods as governor. We need strong leadership. He will lead in an open and honest way.
Rick Henderson - 10:33 PM
Romney: I’m optimistic about our future. Leadership will promote peace and make us more secure. We have two distinct paths. I want to turn around the country. It’s our turn to take the torch from the greatest generation to a new generation of freedom.
Dan E. Way - 10:31 PM
Obama gets first closing statement. Over last four years we’ve made “real progress” getting out of two wars and worst economic situation since Great Depression. Says Romney foreign policy wrong and reckless. His plan would bring manufacturing jobs back to our shores. Wants best education system in the world. Wants to control our own energy by developing oil and gas but also energy of the future. He will maintain strongest military in the world. We need to nation build at home. As a country we bounce back because of the American character.
Rick Henderson - 10:29 PM
Obama first. We’ve made real progress getting over BUSH!
Becki Gray - 10:29 PM
Romney on auto industry: would do nothing to hurt the industry. Not writing checks – need to go through a managed bankruptcy so they can get management back under control. Would not liquidate the industry. Calls O out on Solyndra, gov’t should not invest in companies, but invest in ideas. Would invest in think tanks!!
Obama: accuses Romney of lying, says R wouldn’t bail out auto industry even if they went through bankruptcy. Expect Fact Check reports right after the debate.
Obama says he’s made progress. Can’t go back to the policies that got us into this mess. Where have we heard this before?
Romney: goes over Obama’s list of failures of the last four years. Can’t afford another four years of failed policies. And he loves teachers.
Ends with Shieffer: We all love teachers.
Dan E. Way - 10:29 PM
Romney said he doesn’t want to go back to the plan of the lat four years. Incomes in America decline every year, 4,300 dollars less in family income. 10 trillion national debt now 16 trillion. we’re not at 5.4 percent unemployment as Obama promised, but 9 million jobs short of that. Obama’s policies haven’t worked. Romney said he doesn’t want federal government push deeper and deeper into schools. “I love teachers,” he said, and we need to get economy moving
Barry Smith - 10:28 PM
Obama tries to butt-in while Romney explains his plan to help the auto industry recover. Romney keeps talking and doesn’t allow Obama to do so.
Rick Henderson - 10:28 PM
Romney: Don’t want to go back to policies of past four years. Recites stats about economic decline.
Dan E. Way - 10:27 PM
Obama said Romney tries to “airbrush history.” Now Romney interrupts and said Obama wrong, but people can look it up. He said cutting education budget, investments in research and technology will not help us compete with China. Having a tax code that rewards shipping jobs overseas won’t help us. He said after a decade of drift in which nobody championed businesses, we can’t go back to what got us in trouble in the first place.
Rick Henderson - 10:26 PM
Obama: Romney keeps trying to airbrush history. He said he wouldn’t provide govt help to car companies.
Romney: Look it up.
Dan E. Way - 10:25 PM
Romney said Obama attacking him is not the same as having an effective policy. He would do nothing to hurt the auto industry. Romney said auto companies needed to go through a managed bankruptcy. Obama starts interrupting. Romney said companies could have been helped with government programs through a structured bankruptcy. Obama keeps interrupting. Obama keeps investing in failed electric car companies, Solyndra and other failed industries. Obama tries interrupting yet again. “I’m still speaking” Romney says. Obama still interrupting.
Rick Henderson - 10:25 PM
Romney: Attacking me isn’t an agenda. As for autos, I’m a son of Detroit. My plan isn’t to write checks to Detroit, a process Bush started. These companies needed to shed debt. Government investing in companies isn’t an answer to the economy.
Becki Gray - 10:23 PM
What is the biggest threat to national security?
O: Terrorist networks, China not playing by the rules, Throws in education and technology and research here at home so he can get in that Romney’s budget wouldn’t do this.
R: Nuclear Iran, keeping China responsible, we have to stay strong (he’ll keep us strong), making China play by the rules, calls them currency manipulators on day one. Will this start a trade war? They sell us more stuff than they get from us – can’t keep it up if China doesn’t play by the rules. “I want a great relationship with China” but they have to play fair.
O: accuses Romney of shipping jobs to China, bailing on the auto industry, says we’ll loose the lead in clean energy technology. America is a Pacific power so China will play nice.
Dan E. Way - 10:23 PM
Obama says Romney invested in companies that do business in China. This is the issue that Romney hit back on in last debate, noting Obama’s pension also invests in China.
U.S. exports have doubled to China since he took office, Obama said. Part of the reason were able to pivot to Asia-Pacific region after pulling out of Iraq is because that is a major growth area in the future. Are making sure trips can pass through the area, and are meeting with other countries for trade as well.
Rick Henderson - 10:21 PM
Obama: Romney knows about jobs being shipped overseas because of your investments in companies that do business in China or something.
Dan E. Way - 10:21 PM
Romney asked if labeling China a currency manipulator would start a trade war. Romney says China exports far more to us than we export to them, so they would be hurt more by a trade war. “I want a great relationship with China’ but that doesn’t mean they can steal our ideas, products and trade.
Rick Henderson - 10:20 PM
Romney talking currency manipulation, hacking, copyright theft.
Schieffer: Isn’t that risking a trade war?
Romney: They don’t want a trade war because they risk a lot more than we do.
Dan E. Way - 10:19 PM
Romney said government does not make businesses grow or jobs appear.
Iran is biggest threat in the world, he said. China wants its economy to work and the world to be free and open. We can be a partner with China, we can work and collaborate with them. But China is questioning whether we would be a good ally. They realize we owe them 1 trillion dollars. Secretary of Defense called trillion-dollar cuts to military devastating and China takes note of that. China can look at our commitments around the world and question whether we are a nation of its word. At the same time, China has not played by the rules and it has devalued its currency to give it an advantage in the world market. It is hacking our computers, pirating our goods. They must know that is not acceptable. And he would label the country a currency manipulator.
Barry Smith - 10:18 PM
Obama: “Terrorist networks” are the biggest threats. Then he jumps to China, and making them play by fair trade rules.
Romney: “The greatest national security threat is a nuclear Iran.” Romney follows suit and talks about China too.
Rick Henderson - 10:18 PM
Next segment: China and future challenges to US.
What is greatest future threat to US?
Obama: Terrorist networks. China is both adversary and potential partner if it follows rules. I set up a task force to handle trade violations! We filed more cases! Better living through litigation …
Romney: Government doesn’t make businesses successful. Nuclear Iran is our greatest threat. China wants a peaceful world and they want a prosperous world. We don’t have to be an adversary if they’re willing to be responsible.
Dan E. Way - 10:17 PM
The rise of China prefaces the next question. What do you believe is greatest national threat to our country.
Obama said rise of terrorism is the greatest threat. As economic power, China must play by the same rules as everyone else, he said. He said he set up task force to go after nations that cheat in trade. Have won about every case that’s been filed, and have filed more than the previous president did in two terms.
Becki Gray - 10:14 PM
Obama: Afghans are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. Time to do some nation building here at home. Make sure our veterans are taken care of.
Romney: Pakistan question – should we divorce them? R says no way. If it falls apart, they have nuclear weapons that could fall to terrorists. We can’t just walk away – too dangerous. Drones? R says we should use anything at our disposal to go after any threats to our nation and our friends. We have not done enough to move the world away from islam extremists and terrorists.
Obama: Our strategy was not to just go after Bin Laden, make sure they have free markets, women’s rights. ”Me, my administration, this nation stood on the side of democracy.” Says Al Qeada is weaker than they were 4 years ago.
Dan E. Way - 10:14 PM
Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan are among countries where U.S. has tried to make reforms, to treat women with respect and dignity, to root out government corruption, to make sure is a free market that works, Obama said. “This nation, me” stood by the side of people in countries where governments were overthrown, he said. We need to shrink networks of people that exist in every country who would engage in terror.
Rick Henderson - 10:14 PM
Obama: We’re helping other nations build free-market system.
What about US, Mr. President?
Dan E. Way - 10:12 PM
Romney is asked for his position on drones. “I support that entirely” and Obama is right to use that power. But as important as killing “bad guys” is we need much more effective strategy to deal with problems in the world. Al Qaeda is not harmed, and that is among the many weaknesses of our leadership around the world, he said.
Rick Henderson - 10:12 PM
Question about drones.
Romney: Drone strikes OK. We must do more than going after leaders and killing bad guys. A far more effective strategy does more than that. Move people away from extremism. AQ is not on its heels. Israel/Palestine no closer to peace.
Dan E. Way - 10:11 PM
Pakistan continues to give safe haven to terrorists, arrested doctor that gave us intel on Osama bin Laden (Schieffer stumbles and says Obama). Is it time to walk away from Pakistan?
Romney said no, because of the nukes that Pakistan has. It is “technically an ally,” but is not acting much like an ally. Pakistan was angry with us before and after we went in to get bin Laden. Inside Pakistan are many Pashtuns who are Taliban, and they will come “rushing back in” if U.S. withdraws when Afghanistan not prepared to protect itself.
Rick Henderson - 10:10 PM
Romney: Pakistan must not fall apart. There are nukes there. Intel agency is strongest part of govt.
Rick Henderson - 10:09 PM
Schieffer wants to talk about Afghanistan. He’s doing a very good job letting them talk when they should and putting them back on topic when they veer off-topic.
Barry Smith - 10:09 PM
Obama keeps talking about doing “nation-building” here at home. Bad choice of words. It has negative connotations.
Dan E. Way - 10:08 PM
Obama said we ended war in Iraq and refocused attention on Afghanistan. We forgot why we went to war there, and that was 3,000 American deaths. “We’re now in a position where we can transition out.” No more Americans should die when Afghanis can handle their own security. But we need to pull out responsibly by giving Afghanis what they need. After a decade of war, it’s time to rebuild our own country. Veterans can rebuild roads, bridges and schools, and need to make sure veterans get medical care they need. He injects another anecdote about a veteran having difficulty getting jobs when he returned home.
Rick Henderson - 10:06 PM
Romney: Pakistan is an important nation to pay heed to. Taliban, nuclear weapons. We should not allow it to fall apart. We must help it move to more stability. Aid must be conditioned on benchmarks. We must move Paks in right direction and stay on course with Afghanistan.
Dan E. Way - 10:06 PM
U.S. scheduled to hand over security to Afghanistan in 2014, leaving training corps behind. What do you do if deadline arrives and Afghanis can’t protect themselves.
Romney said commanders and generals on track to get out in 2014. Surge was successful. Afghan forces ready to step in and transition by 2014 is on track. At same time we must look at Pakistan and realize what happens there has a major impact on what happens in Afghanistan. Pakistan is important to region, the world and us. Pakistan will have more nukes than Great Britain in the future, and a Pakistan that becomes a failed state would be a danger to Afghanistan and us. We must make sure it has a more stable government. Aid to Pakistan must be preconditioned to them meeting certain standards.
Rick Henderson - 10:05 PM
Next segment: Afghanistan. What happens if 2014 comes and we’re not done?
Romney: We’ll be done.
Becki Gray - 10:04 PM
Romney scores points on Israel discussion.
Obama accuses Romney of “being all over the map” Debate prep trumps making sense. When in doubt, attack. Oh yeah, mention that “you” killed Bin Laden. ”I look at what we need to keep America safe and that’s what I do.”
Dan E. Way - 10:03 PM
Obama tries to paint Romney as a flip-flopper on foreign policy. “It was worth moving heaven and earth to get him,” he said of killing bin Laden. But Romney said in 2008 campaign we shouldn’t spend all our focus on one man. “Those decisions are not always popular,” but he said he does what moves our interests forward.
Dan E. Way - 10:01 PM
Question is what would candidates do if there was a call from Israel that its bombers were on the way to Iran. Romney said it is not good policy to talk about hypothetical situations. Instead he talks about poor policy towards China, Russia, North Korea, the withdrawal of support for our military. He said 38 members of his own party in Congress have asked him to repair relations.
Rick Henderson - 10:00 PM
Q: What if Israeli PM called you and said our bombers are on the way?
Romney: It wouldn’t happen because we’d be talking long before that.
I see ME with rising chaos, tumult. Jihadists rising, spreading. Syria: 30k civilians dead and Assad still in power. I see Norks exporting nukes, Russia backing away from nuke agreements. I don’t see our influence growing but receiving.
Dan E. Way - 9:59 PM
Obama said he went to border towns and saw damage from missiles launched by Hamas, and he was reminded how that would be if it were his children that close to being bombed.
Becki Gray - 9:59 PM
Obama calls R a liar – biggest shopper told during this election. Seems to be referring to apologizing in middle east. Says Romney had invested in a chinese oil company so can’t talk about imposing sanctions.
Romney: You went on a tour of middle east but you skipped Israel.
Obama: he visited Middle East region and Israel as a candidate. Question will be who is to be trusted, who has credibility. O thinks he does.
Dan E. Way - 9:57 PM
“We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran,” Romney said. Reason he called Obama’s trip after taking office an apology tour was that he went to other nations — while skipping Israel, our closest ally — and he went on Arab TV and was derisive about the U.S.
Rick Henderson - 9:57 PM
Romney: It’s an apology tour because you went everywhere but Israel; in Arab world, you apologized for our actions. We have dictated to other nations.
Rick Henderson - 9:56 PM
Obama: Iran at its weakest point in many years.
Romney: We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran.
Dan E. Way - 9:56 PM
Obama calls Romney characterization of an apology tour “the biggest whopper” of the campaign, and that fact checkers have said so. Iran was resurgent when he came into office, he said, and that no longer is the case.
Rick Henderson - 9:55 PM
Obama just said “very clear” for at least third time. It’s his version of Biden’s “literally.”
Rick Henderson - 9:55 PM
Romney: Obama said he would create distance between US and Israel. Mullahs said, great.
We should have shown more strength from the beginning.
Obama: Romney lies! Apology tour is a huge whopper. Fact-checkers say so!
Becki Gray - 9:54 PM
Obama: says reports in newspapers about Iran deal are not true. Deal we’ll accept are that they lose their nuclear weapons.
Romney: Iran has seen weakness in America. President has been on a Apology tour. Create daylight between ourselves and Israel was alarming message. Essential for an American to show strength from the very beginning.
Dan E. Way - 9:54 PM
Romney said Iran views U.S. as a weak nation. When he took office he engaged in “an apology tour” by talking down about the U.S. to Middle East leaders. Romney said it was noticed that Obama said he wanted to create daylight between U.S. and Israel. Centrifuges are spinning en route to a nuclear weapon. A U.S. president must show strength. Sanctions need to be tightened, and put pressure on Iran “as hard as we possibly can.”
Rick Henderson - 9:53 PM
Romney: Iran has looked at Obama admin and seen weakness when they thought they would see strength. He promised from the start to meet with the worst actors face-to-face and then began an apology tour.
That’s getting under Obama’s skin. You can tell.
Dan E. Way - 9:52 PM
What deal with Iran would you accept, candidates are asked.
Obama said Iran must give up its nuclear program. They have opportunity to re-enter community of nations and we welcome that, he said. We hope their leadership takes advantage of that. Romney tries to say thing Obama does, but only louder, as if that makes a difference. We need to make sure all countries participate, including Russia and China. “There is a deal to be had” and that is that Iran abides by established rules and convince international community that it is abandoning its nuclear program. “The clock is ticking. We’re not going to allow to perpetually engage in negotiations that go nowhere.” He said there is a timetable when U.S. will take “all options necessary.”
Rick Henderson - 9:52 PM
What is the deal you would accept with Iran?
Obama: Reports aren’t true. Iran must give up nuke program.
A lot of noise back and forth right now.
Becki Gray - 9:50 PM
Romney says he will stand with Israel. If they are attacked, we’ll have their back. For Iraq: crippling sanctions and tighten them, diplomatic isolationism, increase pressure time and time again, military action as a last resort.
Rick Henderson - 9:49 PM
Romney: If Israel is attacked, we have their back, militarily.
Iran: a nuclear-capable Iran is not acceptable. I called for crippling sanctions five years ago. They’re working now, but I would have done more earlier. Tighten oil sanctions. Indict Ahmedinejad under genocide. Treat him like we treated South Africa under apartheid.
Dan E. Way - 9:49 PM
Romney said nuclear capable Iran is a threat to America. It’s essential to understand what our mission is. That is to make sure they don’t get a nuke. Romney said he supported “crippling sanctions” years ago and we should have done it sooner. We should do more, such as not allowing ships moving Iran oil into their ports. He would indict Iran under World Court genocide rules similar to what U.S. did in South Africa in ratcheting up sanctions.
Dan E. Way - 9:47 PM
Obama said if Israel is attacked we will defend it. He said we have largest military and intelligence cooperation in history with Israel. He said Iran won’t get a nuclear weapon. We have strongest alliance against Iran in history, he said. Iran’s economy is in shambles due to sanctions. We can’t afford a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world. Iran has said it wants Israel wiped off the map. He said we won’t take any options off the table. Said Romney supports premature military action. When Obama sends young troops into battle he understands that is a last resort, not a first resort.
Becki Gray - 9:47 PM
Obama says Romney hasn’t spent enough time understanding how our military works. Just a little condesending.
O: As long as I am president, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.
Rick Henderson - 9:46 PM
Next segment: Red lines — Israel and Iran.
Is an attack on Israel an attack on US?
Obama: Israel is our greatest ally in the region. If attacked, US will stand with Israel if attacked. Iran will not get a nuke.
Barry Smith - 9:46 PM
Obama is actually making an interesting point on military spending. Adding to the Defense budget doesn’t equate to adding to Defense capabilities.
Dan E. Way - 9:45 PM
Obama said his budget doesn’t reduce military spending, it maintains it. This isn’t a game of battleship where we see who has the most, but to see that we have what we need. He gets condescending, saying we now no longer have classes in bayonets, we have things called aircraft carriers on which planes land, and we have ships that can go underwater. I guess it’s an attempt to make Romney look old and out of touch.
Rick Henderson - 9:44 PM
Romney: Our Navy is smaller now than in 1917. Unacceptable. Air Force is older and smaller than in 1947. We can no longer fight in two conflicts at once. I will not cut military by trillion.
Obama: Sequester will not happen. We have fewer ships than in 1916. We also have fewer horses. This isn’t a game of Battleship.
Barry Smith - 9:43 PM
Obama hits Romney for not specifying which loopholes and deductions he’ll close or eliminate.
Maybe he’s taking the Nancy Pelosi approach… We need to pass it so we can find out what’s in it.
Becki Gray - 9:43 PM
Shieffer trying to get back to foreign policy. So Romney will get rid of ObamaCare. Obama says R wants to spend money the military hasn’t asked for. Can’t spend Trillion on military, tax cuts and plug the deficit (that he’s increased, by the way) and make the math come out right. O claims he’ll keep America safe.
Romney has balanced budgets in private market, Olympics and as a governor. O has never balanced a budget. Nice hit.
Romney makes the case for more military spending, highest responsibility of the President is to keep this country safe.
Dan E. Way - 9:43 PM
Romney said he balanced budget four years in a row with bipartisan support, cut taxes 19 times. He balanced budget of Olympics. Obama has never balanced a budget. Navy is not getting ships required. Air Force older and smaller since its founding. Since FDR always had strategy to fight two conflicts at once. No longer. “I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars” That makes our future “less secure.”
Rick Henderson - 9:42 PM
Obama admits deficit is a national security concern.
Romney: Balanced budgets in business, Olympics, in state government. This isn’t a strong point for Obama.
Dan E. Way - 9:42 PM
Obama says Romney’s math doesn’t work to close loopholes and deductions and raise military spending. U.S. spends more on military than the next 10 countries combined. Obama said his budget looks at keeping only what is required. We need to think about cybersecurity and space. Obama budget does that, and it isn’t driven by politics. That allows us to reduce deficit, which is a national security concern.
Rick Henderson - 9:41 PM
Obama: trillion in tax cuts doesn’t work. trillion on military spending. Etc. Etc.
If repetition is effective, he’s knocking this out of the park.
Dan E. Way - 9:40 PM
Question is where Romney would get money to build military. He said would cut 5 percent of discretionary spending. Getting rid of Obamacare priority. “We take program after program that we don’t absolutely have to have.” Take things like Medicaid and give it to the states to run because they run the programs more efficiently. States are already proving that, he said. Would be more cost-effective. Obama tries to cut in.
Rick Henderson - 9:39 PM
Question: How will we come up with the money to pay for a larger military?
Romney: We’ll cut discretionary spending 5%, turn some programs over to states.
Barry Smith - 9:39 PM
Schieffer must want to talk about domestic issues too. He wants to know how Romney will balance the budget.
Dan E. Way - 9:38 PM
Romney said 4th and 8th graders were tested and came out No. 1 in reading and math when he was Mass. governor. Was No. 1 state in the nation. Kept schools No 1 in nation. Obama keeps trying to interrupt.
Rick Henderson - 9:38 PM
Obama: Education policy, touting Race to the Top. Want to hire more STEM teachers. Says we need to raise taxes on the rich.
Romney’s already taken a shot at teachers unions. Says he’s proud of record on education as governor. Had top test scores in country thanks to bipartisan ed reforms. Obama interrupting now. Not sure that’s a good idea.
Becki Gray - 9:37 PM
Here we go..O is asking the rich just to pay a little bit more. Blaming Bush and Chaney for, well, everything,
Romney calls O out – Touts 5 step plan: Energy independence, increase trade, training workers, school choice, champion small business.
Obama says he’s reformed education where schools are finally making progress, wants to hire more teachers, reduce class sizes cause teachers say it makes a difference.
Dan E. Way - 9:37 PM
Obama said when Romney was in Massachusetts the state ranked at bottom for creating small businesses. “That’s not the kind of small business promotion we need.” Education policy under Obama leadership has created progress in schools. Now he wants to hire more teachers, especially in math and science. Romney said class sizes don’t make a difference and more teachers and better education won’t help the economy grow, Obama says. Romney would slash funding for education.
Dan E. Way - 9:35 PM
Romney said we would be at 5.4 percent unemployment. We’re 9 million jobs short of that. He has a plan to create North American energy independence, and with coal, oil, gas and renewables. Latin America is a huge opportunity for us to take advantage of. We need training programs for workers and schools that put students and teachers and parents first and put teacher unions behind those. We’re on the road to Greece if we don’t get off spending and borrowing binge. We must champion small business from which two-thirds of our jobs come.
Barry Smith - 9:34 PM
Leave it to Obama to bring class envy into a foreign policy debate. He mentions how he wants to increase taxes on the wealthy.
Romney goes on to repeat his five-point plan for economic recovery.
I guess debating foreign policy must have gotten boring for both of them.
Rick Henderson - 9:34 PM
Romney given opportunity to restate domestic policy agenda. Both guys don’t want to talk FP.
Rick Henderson - 9:33 PM
Obama wants to run against GWB and Cheney again.
Romney: I have an agenda for the future. I don’t want to see past four years repeated.
Dan E. Way - 9:33 PM
Obama said getting out of Iraq allowed U.S. to focus attention elsewhere, and insists our alliances have never been stronger. We also have positioned the country to rebuild America, to make sure we rebuild manufacturing, not sending jobs overseas. Again hits the note about creating lots of jobs in saving the auto industry. We must reduce deficit, but Romney’s plan doesn’t do it. Need to make wealthy give more. There’s the class warfare ticket. Says Romney would take us back to Bush-Cheney years.
Barry Smith - 9:32 PM
This is supposed to be a foreign policy debate. Both Obama and Romney have managed to bring domestic issues into the mix.
Rick Henderson - 9:32 PM
Obama: Our alliances have never been stronger. And we can start rebuilding America, as with auto industry.
It’s clear both of them would rather talk about domestic policy, despite the format of this debate.
Becki Gray - 9:32 PM
What is America’s role int he world?
R says we have to defend our principles: freedom. Have to be strong and must lead. Have to strengthen our economy. Nice segue back to what voters care about.
Barry Smith - 9:31 PM
I just noticed that Romney is wearing a (mostly) red tie. Obama is wearing a blue one.
Dan E. Way - 9:31 PM
Schieffer wants to know what candidates think U.S. role in the world is.
Romney: To promote principles of peace around the world. To end conflicts around the world to the extent possible. We have to strengthen our economy at home to lead. Can’t have economy whose growth rate continually slows, with 23 million people out of work, half of college graduates unable to find work. “I will not cut our military budget.” and we need to stand by our allies. He hits pulling missile defense out of Poland was a mistake, and we’ve not treated Israel well. Obama was silent when the Green Revolution occurred in Iran, with 1 million people protesting in support of U.S.
Rick Henderson - 9:30 PM
Romney: Tensions with Israel unfortunate, so was pulling missile defense from Poland.
Rick Henderson - 9:30 PM
Next segment: What is America’s role in the world?
Romney: We must promote principles that make world a better place. To fulfill our role in world, we must be strong, and that starts at home.
Barry Smith - 9:28 PM
Romney is talking about peace. It looks lie he’s trying to head off any potential portrayal by Obama as a warmonger.
Dan E. Way - 9:28 PM
Romney said he wouldn’t have continued to support Mubarak, either, but that the way it was handled allowed the situation to explode instead of having a more controlled, peaceful transition. The mantle of leadership for promoting the principles of peace falls on America, and that requires us to have a strong economy at home. When president of Iran says our debt makes us not a strong country that is a problem. We need strong military, but 1 trillion dollars in cuts through sequestration is unthinkable. We have to stand by our principles and if we’re strong on each of those our influence will grow, but we’re not as strong as we need to be.
Rick Henderson - 9:28 PM
Obama: To be successful in region, we must do things here at home. Nation-building at home. This isn’t going to work.
Romney: Standing against Mubarak was the way to go, and even before O was in place, we should have helped transition to freer Egypt.
Our mission is to work for a more peaceful planet. Mantle to do this has fallen to America. We didn’t ask for it, but we have it. It starts with a strong economy at home. Our debt is our biggest national security threat. Next is military and sequestration is unconscionable. In nowhere in world is our influence greater than it was four years ago.
Becki Gray - 9:28 PM
O likes to talk about countries taking responsibility for themselves. Organizing entrepreneurship conferences in Middle East.
Romney wished we’d recognized that there was a passion for freedom in Middle East. Freedom voices in Egypt.
R says our vision is a peaceful world. Responsibility is ours, we have to be strong. Must have strong economy here at home, a strong military and strong allies and stand by our principles.
Barry Smith - 9:27 PM
Romney says he supports the president on Mubarak and Egypt, but hey, he could have done it better.
Dan E. Way - 9:26 PM
Schieffer asks whether Obama has any regrets over backing ouster of Egyptian leader Mubarak when some believe we did it too soon Obama said no, likens himself to JFK in the process. He said giving Egyptians self-determination is important. We will help them to develop their own economy, give women more equality. “Their aspirations are similar to young people’s here” in terms of job prospects and better life in the future. U.S. organizing entrepreneurial conferences with Egyptians, he said. We need to do things at home to help others abroad, Obama said, such as building the economy.
Barry Smith - 9:24 PM
Obama doesn’t have any regrets about saying that Mubarak needed to go.
Does he have any regrets about anything?
Becki Gray - 9:24 PM
Romney looks like he wants to punch O out.
Romney doesn’t want our military in Syria. This should have been a time for leadership to bring parties together. Insurgants need to come together.
O says he’s promoting getting Assad out and is providing plenty of leadership, thank you very much.
Barry Smith - 9:23 PM
Romney doesn’t want to put our military in Syria. He questions Obama’s leadership in the area.
Obama says Romney doesn’t have different ideas.
Rick Henderson - 9:23 PM
Rommey: Not a no-fly zone in Syria. No U.S. military action for now. We’d rather arm rebels who would defeat Assad. This should have been a time for US leadership, organizationally.
Obama: He doesn’t have different ideas because we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.
Dan E. Way - 9:23 PM
Romney said objectives are to replace Assad with someone who is friendly to U.S. interests. Partners in the area can be supported to help that occur without moving the American military into the country, he said. America should have been helping to establish a council of nations that could remove Assad.
Barry Smith - 9:21 PM
Both want Assad out of Syria.
If Romney is lacking on foreign policy issues, especially when it comes to Syria, he isn’t showing it.
Obama goes back to Libya. He credits Romney with supporting going into Libya. “We were going to make sure that we finished the job.”
Dan E. Way - 9:21 PM
Obama said Libya is an example “of how we make choices.” It allowed U.S. and a coalition to take out Moammar Ghaddafi. He said Ghadaffi had more American blood on his hands than anyone other than Saddam Hussein.
Rick Henderson - 9:20 PM
Romney: Allies there want to work with us. We want to make sure that Assad’s successors are our friends. Obama was letting others take the lead.
Obama: We are taking the lead there. Now let’s go back to Libya.
Becki Gray - 9:20 PM
O brings up Israel. ”What is happening in Syria is heart-breaking.” Assad’s days are numbered.
Romney: 30,000 people killed by Syrian government, Iran’s only ally, Right course is to find responsible parties within Syria and take lead, give them the arms to defend themselves. Co-ordinate with Israel. Need strong leadership so insurgents are armed and can defend themselves. Assad needs to go.
O says we are providing leadership.
Dan E. Way - 9:20 PM
Romney said it is a “humanitarian disaster” because of the killings, but it also is critical as a strategic issue because Syria is only ally of Iran in the area and is Iran’s gateway to the sea. In arming rebels, we must make sure we do not arm the wrong people, he said. Romney said U.S. should be playing the leadership role there, not necessarily a military role.
Rick Henderson - 9:19 PM
Obama: blah blah
Romney: 30k people killed is a humanitarian disaster. Syria is Iran’s only ally in the region. Removing Assad a high priority. We don’t want to get drawn into a military conflict. Bring together responsible parties who can replace Assad.
Dan E. Way - 9:18 PM
It’s been a year since Obama told Assad he must go, yet the Syrian dictator remains in power, has killed more of his own people and has created more refugees, Schieffer says, asking what strategy should be. Obama said Syria must determine it own interest. U.S. must coordinate with Turkey and Israel. He calls situation in Syria “heartbreaking,” but for U.S. to get more entangled there is “a serious step,” and we need to make sure we do not put arms into the hands of people who do not have our best interests at heart.
Rick Henderson - 9:17 PM
Next question on Syria. It’s been more than a year since Obama told Assad he had to go. Should we reassess our policy?
Obama: We have isolated Assad, implemented sanctions. Syrians must determine own future. (How do they do that under a dictatorship?)
Dan E. Way - 9:16 PM
Obama said it is necessary to be clear in telling the world what U.S. policy is. “What I’ve done throughout my presidency” is to make sure these countries are against terror. U.S. can’t do nation building abroad, and needs to do more of that at home.
Becki Gray - 9:14 PM
Obama says Romney wants to bring back policies of decades ago. ”You haven’t been in the position to execute foreign policy. ”
Romney fires back, “Attacking me is not an agenda” Russia is a geo-political foe and Iran is national security risk we face. After the election Putin will bet more back bone.
Heated exchange. Who thought a seated debate would be less confrontational?
Dan E. Way - 9:14 PM
“Attacking me is not an agenda” or telling how the U.S. will stem the tide of violence, Obama said. Said Russia is a geopolitical foe but Iran is the biggest threat in the Middle East. Hits Obama on his open mic gaffe about waiting until after the election to have more flexibility with Russia.
Barry Smith - 9:14 PM
Obama brings up treaties with Russia. Is Romney going to hit him on his comment he made to the Russian PM, when he said he would have more flexibility after the election?
Yes, he does.
Rick Henderson - 9:13 PM
Romney hits Obama on telling Putin he’d be more flexible after the election.
Rick Henderson - 9:13 PM
Obama: Strong, steady leadership vs. wrong, reckless leadership.
Romney: Goal is to get rid of extremists in Middle East, not attacking me.
Dan E. Way - 9:12 PM
“Strong, steady leadership” needed in the Middle East, not reckless leadership, Obama said.
Dan E. Way - 9:12 PM
Obama said the Cold War has been over for 20 years yet Romney has said a few months ago that Russia was our biggest threat. He said Romney has been wrong every time he voices his opinion on how to handle foreign policy.
Rick Henderson - 9:11 PM
Obama: The 1980s are calling for their foreign policy back.
Line falling flat. Needed a laugh track.
Barry Smith - 9:11 PM
Romney: We’re seeing a reversal of the hope of the Arab strength. “We can’t kill our way” out of this mess.
Obama: al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated. He takes credit for the U.S. role in Libya.
I still don’t understand why we played a role in Libya. Libya posed no threat to our security.
Romney says we have to help these nations “create civil societies.”
It looks like we’ll have more interventionism no matter who gets elected.
Dan E. Way - 9:10 PM
The key is to get the Middle East to reject anti-American extremists on its own, Romney said. “We should key our foreign aid, our direct foreign investment” in those nations to help them develop civil societies. But he said there is a “rising tide” of terror and unrest in a “region of tumult” as Iran gets closer to having nuclear weapons
Becki Gray - 9:10 PM
Romney gets first Q, disturbing events in Libya, terrorist attacks, four Americans dead. Greatest threat is Iran. Diffuses Obama’s claims of killing Bin Laden by giving him credit and mentioning it first.
Obama says he’s kept America safe, Al Qaeda’s core leadership is gone. Says Libya stands with US. Accuses Romney of not keeping US safe.
Romney says his strategy is to go after the bad guys, don’t want another Iraq or Afganistan. More economic development is key, better education, gender equality is key to building Middle East.
Rick Henderson - 9:10 PM
Romney: Economic development, rule of law (creation of civil society), gender equality, all the key to long-term success.
Rick Henderson - 9:09 PM
Obama’s replies that we’ve moved out of Iraq and we’re making transition out of Afghanistan. Turning to Libya: We did all we could to keep people out of harm’s way and go after those who killed our people.
I and America took leadership in Libya and liberated country; got rid of despot. Tens of thousands of Libyans marching saying America is our friend. Your strategy has been all over the place.
Romney: My strategy is broader than killing bad guys. We don’t want another Iraq or Afghanistan.
Dan E. Way - 9:07 PM
Obama says al Qaeda has been decimated and that allows U.S. to combat future threats while making situation ripe for U.S. to strengthen its position in the world.
Dan E. Way - 9:06 PM
“We can’t kill our way out of this mess,” Romney says of the situation in the Middle East, while recognizing Osama bin Liden was killed under Obama’s watch.
Rick Henderson - 9:06 PM
1st segment: Challenge of a changing Middle East.
Q regarding Libya
Romney goes first. A pretty dramatic reversal in the hopes we had for the region. Congratulate Obama for taking out OBL and leadership of AQ.
We can’t kill our way out of this problem. Good line.
Dan E. Way - 9:04 PM
Schieffer starts by reminding this is the 50th anniversary of JFK’s showdown with the Soviet Union over nuclear missiles in Cuba.
Becki Gray - 9:04 PM
CBS’s Shieffer kicks off the debate. Candidates enter to enthusiastic applause as debate begins on the 50th anniversary of Cuban missile crisis. First question about Libya.
Rick Henderson - 9:01 PM
Crist, a Republican, supported President Obama’s stimulus plan and lost to Marco Rubio for the GOP Senate nomination in 2010.
Rick Henderson - 8:59 PM
Kiss of Death: Former Fla. Gov. Charlie Crist is sitting in the box with Michelle Obama.
Becki Gray - 8:56 PM
Obama’s pre-debate power meal: steak and potatoes
Who will wear a purple tie? Besides Shieffer.
Bill O’Reilly says if Romney is the winner tonight, he’ll be the next President.
One thing we’ve learned this election cycle: debates matter.
Rick Henderson - 8:42 PM
With Game 7 of the NLCS and the Packers-Bears Monday Night Football game as competition, how many people will tune in to this debate? The first debate drew about 68 million viewers, according to Nielsen (viewership was certainly larger, as Nielsen doesn’t include C-Span watchers); the second attracted roughly 66 million. With a focus on foreign policy, and other competing attractions, the numbers will be interesting. I’d be surprised if it’s much more than 50 million.