Debate highlights: On bayonets, Afghanistan and the China-Detroit corridor

On points, President Barack Obama came away the winner in last night’s debate with Republican Mitt Romney on foreign policy – but only on points.

By definition, a businessman will be at a disadvantage to a commander-in-chief when overseas affairs are the topic – and Romney’s uneasiness on several topics was clear, though he finished strong.

But while Obama had to show mastery, Romney merely had to dispose of any talk that he might be another George W. Bush, eager to send U.S. troops into this fray or that – turning off both independents and the Rand Paul wing of his party.

Which is why Romney in many ways feinted to Obama’s left, with the most provocative example being his early, backhanded praise of the president on the death of the architect of 9/11. “I congratulate him on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership of al-Qaeda. But we can’t kill our way out of this mess,” the GOP candidate said.

If you want to pick out a loser from last night, it would be the recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize – the continent of Europe. With its economy in tatters, capable of dragging the United States into a second recession – talk about your link between foreign affairs and domestic policy – the state of the European Union merited only the barest of mentions.

A few video highlights:

Below is the clip generating the most talk this morning –Obama’s somewhat snarky reply to Romney’s demand for a larger U.S. Navy. Said Obama:

”Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater – nuclear submarines. The question is not a game of battleships, where we’re counting ships.”

If there was genuine news out of this confrontation, it was the signal from Romney that, should he be elected, U.S. foreign policy will not take any sharp turns in January. Romney declared himself at one with Obama on the withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and a refusal to use U.S. military to intervene in Syria. The GOP candidate also declared his difference with Obama on capping Iran’s nuclear capability to be one of tone rather than approach. Watch a piece of it:

Romney’s strongest moment in the debate may have been the renewal of his accusation that Obama had engaged in an “apology tour” to Arab countries – while skipping Israel. His campaign is highlighting portions of the clip below this morning.

Said Romney:

“By the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. And in those nations, and on Arabic TV, you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that, on occasion, America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America hasn’t dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.”

Obama harkened back to his 2008 candidacy and a trip to Israel. “I didn’t take donors. I didn’t attend fundraisers. I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself [of] the nature of evil,” the president said. Watch here:

The link between foreign and domestic policy was at its strongest when the topic of China came up. Romney accused China of stealing U.S. technology, and repeated his declaration that he would declare that country to be a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

“I want a great relationship with China. China can be our partner. But that doesn’t mean they can roll all over us and steal our jobs,” the former Massachussets governor said.

Obama replied by accusing Romney of shipping U.S. jobs overseas as a businessman, and of encouraging the growth of automobile manufacturing in China – not Detroit.

“If we had taken your advice, governor Romney, about the auto industry, we’d be buying cars from China instead of selling cars to China,” the president said.

Protested Romney: “I’m a son of Detroit. I was born in Detroit. My dad was head of a car company. I like American cars.” Watch here:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

85 comments Add your comment

John Kroneck

October 23rd, 2012
9:35 am

It seems to me that Gov. Romney admitted to misleading the public with the exchange around the Mass. schools. Gov. Romney stated the 4th and 8th grades were both number 1 in the nation in two subjects, in the same year. President Obama stated that took place 10 years before Romney was governor. The President then proceeded to identify 3 or 4 other areas he felt were not true about Gov. Romney’s comments. On the last item, Gov. Romney stated, “Now that one I did do” or “Now that one is true” (I am not recalling the exact statement). The point is, by claiming clear credit for the last item, there was an unspoken acknowledgement that on all the other points the President was correct. Additionally, Gov. Romney is very cognizant his statements were not accurate, demonstrated by his eagerness to claim something that was true. Isn’t this called lying? And has our political system so corrupt that we just over look the “little lies”? It seems that Gov. Romney has played his hand and shown us it is a bluff.

Michele

October 23rd, 2012
9:40 am

President Obama was the clear, overwhelming victor of this debate. It just proves why he deserves to stay in the position for four more years. Romney would devastate our world status through his bumbling and deceitful comments.

Toes The Line

October 23rd, 2012
9:42 am

O kicked his **s. Even the WSJ panned Romney for wanting to confront China on Day 1.

Just Saying..

October 23rd, 2012
9:44 am

The Etch-A-Sketch is nearly complete.
And it draws a pretty picture.
What a masterful campaign.
Of lying.

cc

October 23rd, 2012
9:52 am

The truest statement delivered in the debate was stated by the moderator when he addressed Hussein as “Obama bin Laden”.

Obama attacked with very UN-presidential snide remarks and attempted to make points at inappropriate times during the debate. Romney remained above the fray. I am content to wait for election day when President Romney will be elected.

Georgia

October 23rd, 2012
9:53 am

American cars? They are not keeping up with Toyota. Sorry. I’m not getting stuck on the side of the road ever again. No thanx. The cure for Romnesia: In 2009, GM shares went to zero. Ford shares went to a buck, man. Chrysler needs a bailout every new generation. We have to bailout cars. We just have to. We should teach bailing auto to our children. and we should show every child how to bail out of an american auto when it catches fire at 55 mph on the expressway. Jump, and roll! Jump and roll!!

If not, we’re finished.

cc

October 23rd, 2012
10:00 am

Georgia:

Want to see how the how GM used the bailout money? Check out the numerous production facilities GM has opened in China! American taxpayers’ monies, borrowed from China, invested in China to create jobs for the Chinese!

Only in America . . .

Obama is dishonest

October 23rd, 2012
10:07 am

For the long term future of America…….I sincerely hope American voters are wise/informed enough to elect Mitt Romney!

Wow. What a slick left-wing Pro-Obama (3 positive Obama video clips and 1 Romney video with negative comments leading into it of course) article. What happened to real honest journalism??????

Retired Soldier

October 23rd, 2012
10:13 am

Obama looked like the candidte desperate for a knockout because he was behind. The President played small ball all night and looked deminished for it. The major falsehoods were all Obama’s, such as the car bailout and stating Romney thought Russia was our greatest security threat.

The President did make news saying the sequester cuts weren’t going to happen. Guess that is another law Obama will ignore.

BTW, there are far more bayonets in the military today than 1916 Mr. President. Both the Marines and Army have them for thier assault rifles and our military is much larger today than 1916.

Congrats Pres. Elect Romney.

Brent Stockdale

October 23rd, 2012
10:24 am

O isn’t counting battleships? That’s a laugh, because the Navy with 285 vessels is drawing contingency plans to re-activate some ships that are now public museums rather than try to fund new construction, The problem is the technology jump – backwards – in propulsion systems and weapon systems has the Navy scrambling for qualified personnel to work on outdated technology. Even more distressing is the “readiness” ratings for the Coast Guard surface forces.

DJ Sniper

October 23rd, 2012
10:24 am

Funny how all the cons are swearing up and down that Romney was the winner of this thing. Most of what I’ve read has talked about Romney’s constant flip flopping. I didn’t watch this one, so I’ll have to go back and see things for myself.

Obama is dishonest

October 23rd, 2012
10:27 am

Now it is time for the Democrats to start skewing the poll results……..in an attempt to make the country think the majority of people are planning to vote for Obama……..typical & predictable.

Step two is to cast as many fraudulent votes as possible in the swing states…….for the sake of America, I hope ALL voter fraud efforts are exposed and fully prosecuted prior to being counted in the 2012 election (comment for the Koolaid drink’n lefties…….voter fraud by Democrats exceeds the Republican side by a HUGE GIGANTIC margin…….it has become the sole purpose of ACORN which has broken up into several thousand small entities).

Retired Soldier

October 23rd, 2012
10:28 am

DJ-

It is obvious I am a Romney supporter, but I did think Romney won. I do admit my opinion is in the miniority, but Romney held his own and came across reasoned and seasoned. Obama came across as the guy behind.

Don

October 23rd, 2012
10:36 am

You’re wrong Soldier. Romney did say just weeks ago that Russia was this country’s greatest security threat.
I’m sure what O was saying about the sequester was that hopefully this do nothing Congress we have will see the light and come to some compromise to keep this country out of the poor house.
Also, unlike what Bohner, McConnel and the wanna be Paul Ryan might want you to believe the sequester was just as much their idea as it was Obama’s. One I might add that at the time, Bohner and Ryan were all for.

Marlboro Man

October 23rd, 2012
10:37 am

Romney has lost this thing.

Auntie Christ

October 23rd, 2012
10:44 am

cc
October 23rd, 2012
10:00 am

Georgia:

Want to see how the how GM used the bailout money? Check out the numerous production facilities GM has opened in China! American taxpayers’ monies, borrowed from China, invested in China to create jobs for the Chinese!
****************************************************
I realize you have an aversion to facts, particularly when they favor Obama, but on the off chance you might really be interested in factual information, you can check out this link from a non partisan source which refutes your claim:
http://www.factcheck.org/2012/06/is-gm-becoming-china-motors/

As for the used car salesman georgia and his 9:53 am post, he apparently is back to his old dissembling self–the georgia who gouged our military men and women on car prices before he supposedly grew a conscience. Research will show that automobile recalls over the last several have been higher with Toyota, Volvo, Vauxhall, Honda and other foreign makers than with US brands. As for not buying an “American cars” I guess that means you have eliminated the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna & Toyota Tundra from your potential purchases since they are made here in the USA. Maybe you’ll like a nice Italian car, i e a Chrysler, since Fiat owns such a large stake in the company.

Retired Soldier

October 23rd, 2012
10:46 am

Don-

Romney said Russia was the greatest geopolitical threat and Iran was our greatest security threat.

Glad you know what Obama meant to say.

Obama blamed the sequester on Congress last night, seems he forgot:
a. It was Obama’s idea to include the military and…

b. Obama signed the law.

Other than that Obama was correct last night.

Retired Soldier

October 23rd, 2012
10:47 am

MM-

Smoke em if you got em, blowing smoke is all you have.

td

October 23rd, 2012
10:49 am

Romney and his team had a strategy and it worked. Did he lose the debate on typical debating points? Probably did because in most debates the most aggressive debater is usually the winner. The strategy was two fold:

!: Show he had enough knowledge and the right temperament to be commander and chief.

2: To not be aggressive because his internal polling and well as some external polls show that he has captured the white suburban middle class women with children and focus groups have told him that they get turned off by a confrontational attitude and style.

Romney accomplished both of these goals and IMHO won the election last night. As evidence of this one only had to watch the PMSNBC after debate coverage. The commentators went nuts because Romney did not follow their script of being a war monger.

DJ Sniper

October 23rd, 2012
10:51 am

This is for Obama is dishonest:

It’s obvious that you are one of those low information voters that the GOP loves so much. Do your research and you will clearly see that it’s the GOP who has been engaging in voter suppression and efforts to disrupt voter registration. Also, it’s been proven that voter fraud does NOT happen at the rate that the right wants you to believe.

Retired Soldier

October 23rd, 2012
10:53 am

Speaking of War Mongers-

Obama Two years of war in Iraq and four years in Afghanistan, plus a promise of two more.

Romeney, no wars and a promise of two years in Afghanistan.

Who is the war monger?

DJ Sniper

October 23rd, 2012
10:53 am

It’s so funny to hear the cons swear up and down that Romney has the election in the bag.

Retired Soldier

October 23rd, 2012
10:55 am

DJ-

Two suggestions, look at the polls and more important look at the trend.

We need 2-3 points in Ohio and it’s over.

Georgia

October 23rd, 2012
11:09 am

Obama: “Obamacare covers the pre-existing condition of Romnesia”.

double

October 23rd, 2012
11:14 am

Please Mr. Custer I don’t want to go.

Call It Like It Is

October 23rd, 2012
11:18 am

It’s so funny to hear the moonbats swear up and down that Obama has the election in the bag.

See how it works both ways

td

October 23rd, 2012
11:20 am

Kyle,

Very interesting and good post. You wrote an article that will make a real follower of politics think to see if your arguments are totally viable. Great job.

Obama is dishonest

October 23rd, 2012
11:29 am

DJ Sniper: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do some real research regarding voter fraud in the State of Ohio since 2004.

You will need to spend some serious effort discounting/ignoring the extreme left and the extreme right articles/posts which try to miss-lead readers or simply cover-up the actual truth……..IF you are willing to actually do some serious research, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind you will change your opinion about this subject.

Ohio is not the only state Democrats take these actions; however, there is more evidence in Ohio due to the shear volume of voter fraud.

Become informed; who knows, you might like knowing the truth!

Cleanupguy

October 23rd, 2012
11:29 am

Interesting that when something goes poorly for left leaners they themselves jump on the one responsible (like Obama in his first debate), but when something goes poorly for right leaners they claim that the polls are rigged, no, we actually won, we are in the majority (also not true), must be liberal media bias, yada yada yada. Must be brain damage from knocking their heads against the truth for so very long.

yuzeyurbrane

October 23rd, 2012
11:29 am

What hit me was how smoothly Romney flip-flopped. A consummate salesman of any product. But is that who you want to be President of the US?

DJ Sniper

October 23rd, 2012
11:30 am

Stop looking at polls. Any poll can be manipulated to show a certain result. The only poll that matters is the final one on 11/6.

Un-Fit Mitt

October 23rd, 2012
11:32 am

Look for Unfit Mitt and the Good Ole Boy’s to try and still the Ohio election!!!
Get the Lawyers Ready…I have never seen a GOP candidate embrace Dems policy as superficial as Romney tried to sell last night. It didn’t go over well..

DJ Sniper

October 23rd, 2012
11:34 am

If the left is so engaged in voter fraud, then why is it that the right seems to be making the news for this very issue? The Ohio Sec of State is openly defying a court order to restore early voting, some conservative newspapers in Pennsylvania are still telling people that ID is needed to vote even though the courts ruled against it, and over in Arizona, they sent out some information to Hispanic voters with the wrong election date.

Face it, the GOP wants you to vote for them, or not at all.

Committed to freedom

October 23rd, 2012
11:52 am

Tonight at 9pm on C-SPAN there will be a debate between the 4 other presidential candidates running for president. None of these folks is owned by Goldman Sachs, the military-industrial complex, the global banking cartel or any of the other folks that own and control Romney and Obama so there is a high likelyhood that real issues and real answers will be delivered. Tune in to find out what the non-establishment folks would like to do to fix america.

Puerile Pedant

October 23rd, 2012
11:52 am

Mitt was against setting a 2014 deadline for leaving Afghanistan before he was for it.

Is there any issue he is consistent on except that he wants to be President.

What a choice. Obama doesn’t deserve re-election and Mitt shouldn’t have been nominated for the job by the GOP.

Dalton Whitfield

October 23rd, 2012
11:59 am

MITT NEEDED A TELEPROMPTER

October 23rd, 2012
12:04 pm

poor MITTENS looked out of touch and uninformed especially with his “1916 navy” line…the poor sap

MITT NEEDED A TELEPROMPTER

October 23rd, 2012
12:06 pm

MITTENS wanna get “tough’ with CHINA by sending them jobs…the poor sap

MITT NEEDED A TELEPROMPTER

October 23rd, 2012
12:08 pm

MITTENS got owned and the righties are blaming the media…the poor sap

MITT NEEDED A TELEPROMPTER

October 23rd, 2012
12:10 pm

have MITTENS taken OBAMAS boot outta his behind yet?

Disabled War Veteran

October 23rd, 2012
12:11 pm

Although I am a 100 percent service-connected disabled veteran and a life long conservative my wife and I did not cast our Absentee ballots for Mitt Romney. Instead we voted for President Obama. We did this for two reasons. First: President Obama has done more to improve VA health care for veterans than anyone in my memory and I am in my 80’s. Under George Bush (who I voted for) VA heatlh care (especially for rural veterans) went to pot. President Obama worked hard to fix that and as one who needs VA care for my disabilty I appreciate that. Second: after Romney made that 47 percent remark to a bunch of his rich buddies it was also directed at folks who are on Social Security (which they paid for) and disabled vets like me who cannot work due to injuries in service during time of war. I realize that Romney will carry Georgia but he will not do it with my vote!

eagle1

October 23rd, 2012
12:12 pm

Bye Bye Obummer!!! Good Riddance! Welcome President Elect Romney! Please bring some respect and dignity back to the White House!

MITT NEEDED A TELEPROMPTER

October 23rd, 2012
12:17 pm

MITTENS says “I LIKE AMERICAN CARS.”…LOL…the poor sap what would he do without white privilege

MITT NEEDED A TELEPROMPTER

October 23rd, 2012
12:19 pm

MITTS been running for president for a decade and he looked lost AND INEPT LAST NIGHT…i guess agreeing with OBAMA makes the flippity flopper look presidential to the PEE PARTY

MITT NEEDED A TELEPROMPTER

October 23rd, 2012
12:22 pm

Mittens say, “FIX BAYONETS!”….lol…

Ahmir Haddad

October 23rd, 2012
12:26 pm

I liked President Obama’s “horses and bayonets” zinger, but I’m afraid it’s stirred up a lot of veterans’ groups against him. The Secretary of the Navy did request more ships, feeling that a lot of very brave young men and women need them as they go “into harm’s way” to keep us safe. (I guess you can argue that the Navy always wants more ships.) But many veterans don’t think it’s a proper topic for a flippant, joking remark.
What the heck. I don’t guess many veterans or active duty personnel were going to vote for President Obama in the first place.

MITT NEEDED A TELEPROMPTER

October 23rd, 2012
12:32 pm

@ahmikr

how smart can a veteran be when he votes for the guy who will send him to die for a lie? a smart guy would vote for the guy who will keep him out of war…

MITT NEEDED A TELEPROMPTER

October 23rd, 2012
12:37 pm

@ahmir

if telling the truth makes some veterans vote against him then its safe to say they werent going to vote for him anyway.

MITT NEEDED A TELEPROMPTER

October 23rd, 2012
12:38 pm

why should OBAMA listen to anything republicans have to say on defense? remember 9/11, phantom WMD’S?

cc

October 23rd, 2012
12:53 pm

Auntie Christ:

There is nothing in my post you referenced that is untrue. I believe GM has opened 7 manufacturing plants in China, and intends to build more. I don’t believe they have shipped Americans to China to fill the jobs that the manufacturing plants provide. The following is from your cited source:

“GM is still a U.S.-based multinational auto company, incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Detroit. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, about 33 percent of the stock in GM is still owned by the U.S. Treasury as a result of a taxpayer-assisted bankruptcy and downsizing in 2009.”

“But the company sells cars in more than 120 countries and accounted for nearly 12 percent of all car and truck sales worldwide last year (11.9 percent, according to GM’s annual report). It’s also true that China is now the largest market for car sales on earth. Total car sales in China surpassed those in the U.S. in 2009. China retained the lead in 2011, and that lead is expected to grow in the future.
So like it or not, the world’s automakers have been drawn to this huge and growing market, and GM has been particularly successful there. The video’s narrator clearly doesn’t like it.”