A forceful President Barack Obama put Republican challenger Mitt Romney on the defensive on foreign policy on Monday night. Obama displayed the experience of a commander-in-chief in explaining U.S. policy under his leadership and attacking the views and proposals of Romney.
Romney ended up supporting most of the Obama administration’s steps involving hotspots, such as the civil war in Syria, and preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, giving the president the advantage in a debate in which his GOP rival needed to question foreign policy of the past four years.
To Kill or not to Kill
Romney said, “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.” Two minutes and fourty-five seconds later: “Well, my strategy is pretty straightforward, which is to go after the bad guys, to make sure we do our very best to interrupt them, to — to kill them, to take them out of the picture.”
The 1980’s Want Their Foreign Policy Back
Obama: “Gov. Romney, I’m glad you recognize al-Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what is the biggest geopolitical group facing America, you said Russia — not al-Qaeda. And the 1980’s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back — because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.
“Our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917,” the Republican nominee said, also noting that “our Air Force is older and smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1947.”
“You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916,” Obama said. “Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed.”
Sarcastically noting that the Navy now has “these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them” as well as “ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines,” Obama concluded that “the question is not a game of ‘Battleship,’ where we’re counting ships — it’s what are our capabilities.”