My immediate reaction was that I was disappointed in Mitt Romney's performance early on but he seemed to pick up steam as the debate went on. As a conservative who often becomes quite enraged at the arrogance and condescension consistently displayed by President Barack Obama, I was hoping Romney would poke the proverbial bear to the point Obama would become flustered and incoherent. But as I took a step back, I feel Romney conducted himself the right way. After all, it's not easy to retort in a respectful (but firm) and measured tone when one's opponent is telling half truths and launching vapid (and sometimes false) attacks on one's character. From that standpoint, my respect and admiration for Governor Romney grew immensely.
Having said all that, my favorite Romney zingers at the expense of the President were these gems:
- When Obama claimed Romney said the biggest geopolitical threat facing America is Russia, Romney's retort was "First of all, Russia I indicated is a geopolitical foe...It's a geopolitical foe, and I said in the same — in the same paragraph I said, and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I'm not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia, or Mr. Putin. And I'm certainly not going to say to him, I'll give you more flexibility after the election." (Emphasis mine). This final sentence was of course in reference to Obama's "hot mic" moment in March when meeting with Russian President Medvedev.
- When calling out the President for taking an "apology tour" across the Middle East (again, emphasis mine): "Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And by the way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations. And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. And then in those nations, and on Arabic TV, you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators." Even though Obama steadfastly claimed last evening that Israel is such a close ally, he hasn't visited the country since he went there as a candidate in 2008.
In the end, Romney didn't need to cater to me or the rest of the crowd gathered at the Blue Fox Bar & Grill for the AM 1280 The Patriot debate party. He has our votes. What Romney needed to do was convey to undecided voters that he is indeed Presidential and that he has America's best interest when it comes to Foreign Policy. In that vain, he was successful.
With that in mind, it's now a two week sprint to the finish line. Game on!