With less than two weeks to go till the presidential elections, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are both on a last surge campaign in various states for votes, following the third and final presidential debate in Florida, focusing on foreign policy.
According to the New York Times, “whoever wins will inherit a world with increasingly complicated challenges, from the turmoil in the Middle East to a resurgent Russia to an emerging China”. They will also inherit pressing domestic issues, which at times threatened to overwhelm the Florida debate despite its official foreign policy focus - at times, the candidates also brought up domestic issues such as the economy, the bailout of the domestic auto industry, and tax.
Analysis: Sparring over foreign policy, Obama goes on the offense [The New York Times, 22 October 2012]
The Middle East
On Afghanistan, Mr. Romney agreed with President Obama’s policy of withdrawing troops in 2014. On Iran, both candidates would rather impose tougher international sanctions against the country for its nuclear regime in order to guarantee Israel’s security than have the US be involved in another war in the Middle East.
During the debate, Mr. Romney criticised President Obama’s handling of the civil war in Syria and the recent attacks on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, saying the US required “a comprehensive strategy”, and that “We can’t kill out way out of this mess”. He also accused President Obama of embarking on an “apology tour” of the Middle East.
President Obama countered by highlighting Mr. Romney’s inexperience in the foreign policy arena and described his strategy as “all over the map” and requiring “strong, steady leadership, not wrong and reckless leadership”.
Report: And it’s two out of three for Obama [TODAY (Agencies), 24 October 2012]
Report: Aggressive Obama emerges as victor over Romney in third debate [The Australian, 23 October 2012]
Report: What Happened at the Last Presidential Debate [TIME, 23 October 2012]
Report: Rivals duels in final face-off [The Wall Street Journal, 23 October 2012]
Both President Obama and Mr. Romney presented tough stances on China, emphasising that they wanted a positive relationship with China but that it must adhere to international trade rules. Mr. Romney said that the US and China can be partners but China cannot take American jobs away unfairly.
Emphasising that there will be a continued US presence in the Asia-Pacific, President Obama said he is “sending a very clear message (to China) that America is a Pacific power”.
Report: China needs to play by rules: Obama, Romney [TODAY (AP), 24 October 2012]
Following the debates, both candidates have urged Americans to get out and vote before laying out their vision to build a more a prosperous US over the next four years, with Mr. Obama speaking at Dayton, Ohio and Mr. Romney in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"His (Mr Obama's) campaign is taking on water and our campaign is full speed ahead," Mr Romney said. "We can handle two more weeks of attacks from Obama but we can't afford four more years of what he's given us."
Meanwhile, Mr Obama travelled up from Florida to address a rally in Ohio. Earlier today his campaign team released a new, 20-page booklet laying out his second-term agenda.
Mr Obama told the crowd: "We can't go back to what got us into this mess. We need to move forward with what's getting us out of this mess.
Report: US Election: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in dueling rallies [The Telegraph, 23 Oct 2012]