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Presidential candidates go head to head in final debate
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney discussed foreign policy during the third and final presidential debate Monday night, two weeks before voters will choose the next Commander-in-Chief.
The debate was designed by moderator Bob Schieffer to focus mainly on foreign policy, but Obama and Romney quickly brought up the economy, tax policies, auto bailouts for Detroit carmakers and education reform in their responses.
Six separate segments during the debate included America’s role in the world, the Afghan war, U.S. relations in Israel and Iran, terrorism and trade relations with China.
Schieffer started the debate by asking Obama and Romney about the recent attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed.
The conversation moved to the possibility of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, and both men agreed that Iran’s obtaining nuclear weapons would be a threat to Israel and the U.S.
“As long as I'm president of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon,” Obama said, and Romney affirmed that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon “when” he becomes president.
Both men agreed that economy-crippling sanctions against Iran would keep Americans safe, but Romney said that the past four years of foreign policy by the Obama administration has led to advancements for nuclear weapons in Iran.
“We're four years closer to a nuclear Iran,” Romney said.
But Romney said that Obama’s administration had handled some situations well.
Obama cited his decision to go into Pakistan after Osama bin Laden as good leadership, and Romney agreed that it was “the right decision.”
Romney also said that he supports Obama’s increase in use of unmanned drone strikes.
But the debate ended with the two expressing clear differences on the greatest threat to the U.S. and how China plays a role in the U.S. economy. While Obama stated that U.S. exports to China have doubled since he was elected, Romney said that trade with China is unfair.
“I want a great relationship with China ... but they can't take our jobs,” Romney said. “We have to understand that we can't just surrender and lose American jobs to China year after year.”
When the candidates were giving their closing arguments, Obama called for another four years as president and more “nation building here at home.”
Romney asked voters to let him take Obama’s place in the White House and promised that, as president, he would “maintain America as the hope of the earth.”
President of Ohio University College Democrats, Shannon Welch, and President of the Ohio University College Republicans, Ryan Dilworth, could not be reached for comment.