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Horses and Bayonets on the Morrow

In debate the first, Alpha Romney showed up and stylistically, if not factually, defeated a sleepy Obama. In debate two, electric boogaloo, Romney and Obama both came to the knife fight with guns a-blazing. 

Last night, in debate number three, Alpha Obama went on offense against a stammering, sweaty Romney who, at times, seemed as if Sarah Palin had helped with debate prep. When Obama criticized Romney’s incoherence on various foreign policy matters, Romney whined, “attacking me is not a plan”. It was repeated at least twice, and sounded weak, sorrowful, and pathetic. Obama’s cross-examination of Romney on his prior inconsistent statements was effective and decidedly well-hinged.

For instance, at the first debate, Romney had complained that the 2014 deadline to leave Afghanistan was something he agreed with, except insofar as it telegraphs to our enemy that all bets are off after that. It’s a disingenuous weasel answer, and one that Romney completely abandoned last night, instead claiming to back the 2014 date. From TPM, Obama

You said that first we should not have a timeline in Afghanistan, then you said we should. Now you say maybe or it depends. Which means not only were you wrong, but you were confused and sending mixed messages to our troops and allies.

In 2008, Romney said we shouldn’t move “heaven and earth” to get Osama bin Laden, and that we should first ask Pakistan for permission.  Obama recounted meeting the daughter of a 9/11 victim, which reaffirmed to him that moving heaven and earth was exactly the right thing to do; “worth it”, 

“[Y]ou said we shouldn’t move heaven and earth to get one man,” Obama said. “If we would have asked Pakistan for permission, we wouldn’t have got him.”

On Russia: 

“I’m glad that you recognize al Qaeda is a threat. Because a few months ago when you were asked the biggest threat facing America, you said Russia,” Obama said. “The Cold War has been over for 20 years. But governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.”

Later Obama said directly to Romney, “You indicated that we shouldn’t be passing nuclear treaties with Russia, despite the fact that 71 senators, Democrats and Republicans, voted for it.”

Romney repeatedly claimed to be the candidate of peace – he rebutted the elimination of Osama bin Laden with “we can’t kill our way out of this mess“. Romney tried to attack Obama from the left on this, and everything about it reeked of phoniness. The guy who has John Bolton on his foreign policy team isn’t the McGovernesque peace candidate.  On Iran, Romney actually suggested that some unnamed “world court” indict Ahmadinejad for genocide. That’s nice, but the United States has nothing whatsoever to do with the International Criminal Tribunal. And how does that jibe with the Republican anti-world-government, anti-UN, US must do everything mantras? It’s a desperate ploy by a desperate candidate. 

If, at the foreign policy debate, Romney can get no traction on his Libya attacks, he’s lost. 

Throughout the night, Alpha Obama was the calm, rational, factual counterpoint to Romney’s rushed stream of consciousness. He also gave Romney nary an inch to repeat falsehoods or reinvent history. Obama pre-empted Romney’s predictable attacks about Israel with yet another “Libya moment”. One of Romney’s clumsiest attacks was to accuse Obama of weakening our military by pointing out that the Navy has fewer “ships” now than it did in 1916(!). Obama snarkily obliterated that argument, and it was a highlight of the night – a “you’re no Jack Kennedy” moment. 

Funny aside – someone on Facebook mentioned that Fox News “fact-checked” the assertion that the military doesn’t use bayonets anymore by pointing out that Marines have them. Except for the fact that the President said “fewer”, not “none”. Now we’re fact-checking deliberately false fact-checking. 

But except when they veered to domestic policy issues that are swing-state friendly, it was astonishing just how much Romney agreed with every foreign policy thing Obama’s doing, or has done. He liked everything! Romney was reduced to using long strings of words to say he’d do exactly the same thing, only perhaps louder or faster. 

In their closing arguments, Obama pivoted back to hope and staying on a path to move forward, rather than back. Romney did his best Reagan impression, but ended up sounding and looking more like a more WASPy Billy Fucillo, who really wants to see you in this purple Hyundai with low miles and EZ-terms. 

Some highlights: 

In response to Romney’s accusation about an “apology tour” where Obama purportedly ignored Israel. This was quite the Libya moment. Please proceed, Governor:

Closing with hope :


  • MaxPlanck

    Romney’s performance confirms that he’d be a disaster on foreign policy and would be fodder in the hands of the tyrants he claims to be able to stare down. A tribunal spanking  for Ahmadinejad? Ahmadinejad is on his way out and the real power in Iran is held by the Mullahs.

    It also casts  the role he assumed in the post GOP primary and convention period, one that’s far removed from his posture in that period where he dished out generous portions of red meat for the Tea Party faction who’ve got to be asking: i) Where did our guy go? and, ii) How did we get stuck with this chump?

  • tonyintonawanda

    Did you guys watch the same debate?  All Mitt had to do was prove he could be commander and chief to those who want to vote for him and he accomplished that.  If he went too strong, the liberal media would be hammering him as Bush II,  a war monger with finger on the button.  Romney did what he needed to do.  Plus, everyone was watching football or baseball anyway.  Bottom line: this debate is meaningless in the final outcome of the election.

    • BlackRockLifer

      Tony- I watched and I am as confused as ever by Romney’s ever changing positions and failure to stand firm on any issue. This guy lacks core beliefs and is willing to change his story to suit the moment, in my book a lack of basic honesty and integrity.
      Can anyone claim to know what Romney actually believes? Such a fickle and incoherent person is not qualified to lead.

  • BlackRockLifer

    It is comical to hear the right whining that Obama was disrespectful, as if he should just allow Romney to lie without consequence. Even more ironic is the level of disrespect for the president these same folks have shown and encouraged. The president has been accused of being foreign born, a muslim, a communist, socialist, hates white people, uppity, etc but heaven forbid we criticize Romneys actual lies and deceptions.

  • Mike_Chmiel

    The look that Mitt gets on his face when he gets knocked down by Obama is absolutely priceless.  It is as if he is doing everything he can to prevent himself from screaming while thinking, “Who in the hell does this negro think he is?”

  • hwhamlin

    I wouldn’t expect Little Barry to know this (he pronounces a certain military position “corpse-man”), but the first American forces who crossed the border into Afghanistan were Special Forces operators–mounted on horseback.

    • http://www.buffalopundit.com/ Alan Bedenko

      That’s fantastic news! But (a) the exchange was about the Navy; and (b) if you watch the embedded video, Obama doesn’t say we have no bayonets and horses, but fewer.

  • bates77@rogers.com

    to tony in tonawanda: Wow, Tony this is your excuse for the most pathetic debate performance on foreign affairs I have ever seen. Ole flip-flopping Mitt came off as the dunce he is. Give it up republicans your candidate is an ” empty suit” in every sense of the word. Obama will crush him on Nov 6th just as he so completely did last evening.