How did you grade the third Presidential Debate? Roger Cohen thought that the debate questions were unfortunate: flat, out of sync, and off-balance:
I was waiting for one from left field. But Schieffer was not very imaginative. Something like: “In a hyperconnected world dominated by social media, does traditional U.S. diplomacy have any place? Aren’t Google and Twitter more important than the size of the navy?”
From the vantage point of a few days later, this view shows how similar the candidates’ views really are, and the trick of differentiating oneself:
Mr. Obama has a tough task. It is a lot easier to go on the trail arguing for America as No. 1 than it is making a case that America’s leverage comes in its ability to work with allies. “It’s an incredibly difficult balance, especially for anyone running for president,” said R. Nicholas Burns, who spent nearly three decades as one of America’s top diplomats before he left his post as George W. Bush’s under secretary of state for political affairs to teach at Harvard. “Governor Romney is right to say America must lead, and we are still the indispensable power and must remain a strong and active world leader. But President Obama has developed a modern and effective view of leadership that I think resonates with anyone who has done this kind of work for a living: that in places like Libya, you have to challenge the NATO allies and the Arab states to be in the front lines, and that Americans know we can no longer be everywhere and do everything.”
And again, this on what wasn’t said (Eurozone, Mexico, Latin America)
In general, there was a sense among analysts and observers outside the United States that these were two intelligent, competent candidates who do not differ overly much on the central issues of foreign policy and were actually debating with domestic constituencies in swing states foremost in mind.