Third And Final Presidential Debate, A Toss Up?


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Last night's debate between US Presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was watched by just 53.9 million people, far less than the over 66 million that had tuned in for the first two debates. Whether it was because people are indifferent about US foreign policy or because the debate was at the same time as Monday Night Football and the seventh game of Baseball's National League Series, will never be known. But the general consensus is that the people who skipped it, did not miss much.

The tone of the debate was pretty much set at the beginning by the demeanor of the candidates (especially Mitt Romney), who both appeared to be extremely calm. They also seemed to have heeded to the American public's concern about the way they behaved during the last two debates when they spent more energy squabbling about airtime than about the issues facing the country.

Many people had thought that if nothing else, the two would argue about the recent unfortunate tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, during which US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed. But when the topic came up, Romney did not rise to the bait and blame the Obama administration. Instead, he simply moved on to other more benign topics like the rumored takeover of the North African country of Mali by Al-Qaeda, a fact that may be true but is so below the radar in terms of foreign policy that it made stand-up comedian Bill Maher quip - Mitt, you do know that most of America thinks Mali is one of Obama's daughters, right?

If there was any winner at all and most people believe there really was not, it was President Obama thanks to the perception that he was more assertive, whereas Romney simply went along with the flow and the only time he did argue was when he a mentioned domestic issue, which was not really relevant given that the agenda of the last debate was foreign policy.

What was perhaps the biggest surprise and somewhat refreshing was that at the end of the debate, the President and First Lady, Michelle Obama, met with and as one of the television commentators put it 'spent the most time ever', with Mitt Romney, his wife Ann and his extended family that came up on the stage to congratulate the two candidates! Maybe the two families may even become friends after American voters pick their new leader, which will be, exactly two weeks from today!


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