You wouldn't know it by reading the stenographic AP piece in the Akron Beacon Journal this morning, but President Obama mopped the floor with Mitt Romney last night in what was the last of three presidential debates. It was, without doubt, the former governor's worst performance. Read transcript here. Watch debate video here.
After opening remarks were over and the back and forth began, it was obvious that all Mitt Romney had done to prepare was cram-memorize a bunch of foreign policy information that he didn't, or couldn't, fully comprehend. When Mr. Romney was not agreeing last night with President Obama's foreign policy decisions....which Romney did repeatedly.....the former governor recited, R2-D2-style, disjointed pieces-parts of what he had cram-memorized during debate preparations.
One of Mitt's worse moments....
Romney: "Our Navy is old -- excuse me, our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We're now at under 285....
I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy. Our Air Force is older and smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1947. We've changed for the first time since FDR...."
Obama: You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we're counting ships. It's what are our capabilities. And so when I sit down with the Secretary of the Navy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we determine how are we going to be best able to meet all of our defense needs....
Romney's pained facial expressions and forehead sweating kicked in in earnest after that spanking.
Asked about Iran, Mr. Romney accused Obama of "weakness"....
"...they have looked at this administration, and felt that the administration was not as strong as it needed to be. I think they saw weakness where they had expected to find American strength."
"...then the president began what I have called an apology tour, of going to various nations in the Middle East and criticizing America. I think they looked at that and saw weakness."
Obama delivered the haymaker....
"Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. This has been probably the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign. And every fact checker and every reporter who's looked at it, Governor, has said this is not true."
"....And the fact is, while we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a Chinese state oil company that was doing business with the Iranian oil sector."
At that point, if last night's debate had been a boxing match, doctors would have been called into the ring to examine the extent of Romney's bleeding. It was THAT brutal.
Obama...."Governor, the problem is, is that on a whole range of issues, whether it's the Middle East, whether it's Afghanistan, whether it's Iraq, whether it's now Iran, you've been all over the map."
"...I'm pleased that you now are endorsing our policy....But just a few years ago you said that's something you'd never do."
Then the President hit the former governor with his own multiple-choice positions....
"In the same way that you initially opposed a timetable in Afghanistan, now you're for it, although it depends. In the same way that you say you would have ended the war in Iraq, but recently gave a speech saying that we should have 20,000 more folks in there. The same way that you said that it was mission creep to go after Qaddafi.
When it comes to going after Usama bin Laden, you said, well, any president would make that call. But when you were a candidate in 2008, as I was, and I said if I got bin Laden in our sights I would take that shot, you said we shouldn't move heaven and earth to get one man."
Near unconsciousness after those punches connected, Mr. Romney wandered off into a weird spiel about Pakistan.....spouting memorized material irrelevant to the topic at hand. As Josh Marshall at TPM mentioned in his live-blog at the time....Romney rambled incoherently.
Last night's debate was not a close contest. Not one bit. That is why this morning Johnny Mac McCain is out in front of cameras...predictably.....criticizing President Obama for "taking cheap shots", "belittling" Romney's "inexperience."
Quite something really. John McCain was last cycle's GOP losing candidate.....and that losing candidate is scolding last cycle's winner for exposing this cycle's soon-to-be GOP loser for the Fox talking-point spouting, truth-challenged, empty suit that he is.
Hard to make stuff like that up.
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