FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: THE MEDIA ANALYZES THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
BY: FERN SIDMAN
The analysis of the third and final presidential debate between President
Barak Obama and Governor Mitt Romney was presented with alacrity on Monday
evening, October 22nd, by media personalities representing all facets of the
political spectrum. In a departure from previous debates, the focus of this
debate was foreign policy and was hosted by CBS' Bob Schieffer.
The reactions of the television "talking heads" and pundits varied widely,
with most concluding that President Obama, clearly on the defensive coming into
the debate with his poll numbers slipping in the last few weeks, took an
aggressive posture and pounded his opponent.
In his post-debate analysis, FOX News personality, Sean Hannity, said,
"Obama didn't miss an opportunity to 'spike the football' on the killing of
Osama bin Laden. But the President refuses to address the "war on terror" as it
applies to radical Islamists." Referencing President Obama's sardonic remark
about the US Navy having less ships now that it did in 1916 because now they
have more aircraft carriers, and less bayonets and horses, Hannity
commented,"Trying to present Governor Romney as a foreign policy lightweight,
Obama attempted to paint a portrait of his opponent as a man who is out of touch
with modern military strategy."
The folks at the patently pro-Obama MSNBC network had their say as well.
The Reverand Al Sharpton said, "Romney appeared as though he was 'hugging' the
President." Likening Governor Romney to a boxer, Sharpton said, "His strategy
was to clinch, embrace and agree. Romney stood for nothing tonight. Whether I
agree or disagree with him, I want to hear what his positions are and he was
like jello tonight. Also proffering her perspectives on the results of the
debate was Rachel Maddow who consistently lambasted Romney for "denying that he
ever held previous positions on foreign policy issues and this shows a deep
character flaw.". She opined that for President Obama, his choice during the
debate was to decide whether he was going to "impeach Romney on his switching of
positions or to talk about the economy." She added that, "Romney did a lot of
damage to himself because of his presentation of basic factual errors and his
lack of preparedness."
A CNN post-debate poll showed that 48% of those watching the debate favored
Obama to 40% of those who favored Romney. On the question of which of the
candidates is a stronger leader, the poll revealed that 51% thought Obama was as
opposed to 46% of those who thought that Romney was. When asked who could better
handle the job of "Commander-in"Chief", Governor Romney received a 60% approval
rating and President Obama received 63%.
On the subject of the relationship between the United States and Israel,
CNN's Wolf Blitzer noted, "President Obama bristled when Governor Romney took
him to task for not visiting Israel during his first trip to the Middle East
after being elected in 2008." He also referenced President Obama's recent
appearance on CBS' '60 Minutes', when he told his interviewer that Israel is
"one of our closest allies" in the Middle East, and contrasted it to the
statement Obama made during the Monday evening debate in which he said Israel
was the "greatest ally" of the United States.
Boldy critiquing President Obama's position on the US military was FOX News
contributor and former vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin who said,
"President Obama has displayed a lack of respect for our military troops in Iraq
and Afghanistan. He was withheld their paychecks so he could pay for ObamaCare
and hindering their ability to vote in a war zone. He was cut $1 trillion from
the military budget and has blamed Congress for the sequestration. I really wish
the media would call Obama out on these facts."
Dominating the debate agenda was the position of the candidates on how best
to deal with the rapidly escalating Iranian nuclear program. Media pundits
conjectured that Governor Romney did not want to appear as a "loose cannon" or a
"war monger" and stressed his focus on strengthening sanctions against Iran
rather than focusing too intently on the military option. CNN presented a
question of "Who is being reckless with Iran?". They gave it an "incomplete"
grade as they said neither candidate offered concrete plans for a military
intervention, despite the fact that both said they would "have Israel's back" if
attacked by Iran.
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