Boca Raton (Florida): Economic and domestic issues appeared time and again during the third and final presidential debate today between Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, which was meant to be exclusively focusing on the US foreign policy.
With the argument that a nation needs to be economically strong to be a successful world leader, the Republican presidential candidate was the first one to inject domestic and economic policies into the debate.
"The debate takes a commercial break from foreign policy to deliver economic talking points," Philip J Crowley, former spokesman of the State Department, wrote on Twitter.
There were several moments in the 90-minute debate when Obama and Romney were seen clashing over pure domestic issues.
"America must be strong. America must lead. And for that to happen, we have to strengthen our economy here at home. You can't have 23 million people struggling to get a job. You can't have an economy that over the last three years keeps ...," Romney said.
"I will get America working again and see rising take- home pay again," Romney said, leaving millions of television viewers wonder if this was a debate on domestic issues.
Not to be seen lagging behind, Obama too charged up on domestic issues. "First of all, Governor Romney talks about small businesses, but Governor, when you were in Massachusetts, small businesses' development ranked about 48, I think, out of 50 states, in Massachusetts, because the policies that you're promoting actually don't help small businesses.
"And the way you define small businesses include folks at the very top. They include you and me. That's not the kind of small business promotion we need."
The two leaders continued to clash on domestic and economic issues, even as the moderator, Bob Schieffer, tried to divert the debate towards foreign policy issues.
"Let me get back to foreign policy," he said as Romney spoke about his achievements in the education front.
"While I was Governor, I was proud that our fourth graders came out number one of all 50 states in English and then also in math, and our eighth graders number one in English and also in math -- first time one state had been number one in all four measures," Romney said.
"That was what allowed us to become the number one state in the nation," he said as Obama interrupted. "But that was 10 years before you took office," said the US President.
"And then you cut education spending when you came into office," Obama continued with his interruption, to which Romney alleged that his facts were wrong.
This did not stop even as Schieffer tried to shift the debate to military and defence issues.
"I want to try to shift it, because we have heard some of this in the other debates," the moderator said, which did not stop Romney from raising the economic issues again, to which Obama was quick to respond.
First Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 13:27