The third and final Presidential debate has come to an end. The primary focus of this debate was on foreign policy – a field where the President has the natural advantage due to the past four years in office. This placed a higher expectation on Barack Obama than on Mitt Romney to perform. But more on that later.
First, let’s look at “maturity”. Other than the continued interruptions (though not as bad as last time), the candidates came across more mature in this debate. There were about four distinct interruptions by the President and one by Romney, and one point where both talked over each other for about 30 seconds before the moderator brought the debate under control. This was a great improvement from the childish acts by both candidates in the last debate, and it was a welcomed change. Not to say there weren’t some immaturity at times with condescending tones or bad body language, but for the most part it was an improvement.
On performance, I would have to give the President a 55% to 45% advantage over Romney. Romney was stronger when the discussions came to the economy while the President looked confident when talking about foreign policy issues. Additionally, Romney seemed to approach this debate a bit more softly compared to his past performances. This gave him the appearance of being “above” the debate, but by playing “prevent defense” (a football strategy that eases up on the up-front defense and protects against the big plays, usually leading to the offense scoring anyway), Romney allowed Obama to make more accusations without challenging them. This was the deciding factor in my opinion.
In the end, I don’t think either candidate hurt their positions and I don’t think this debate will have any significant impact on the polls. So expect the candidates to leave tonight and continue their push to gain your votes through numerous trips in the battleground states and flooding the TV and Radio with campaign ads.
And just in case you are getting tired off all this campaign, just know that when you wake up tomorrow, there are only two weeks left in the campaign. Barring any court challenges or recounts, we’ll either have a new President or four more years under the Obama administration.