Presidential Debate Highlighted Character Differences

Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012 05:48 PM

By Ronald Kessler

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Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — The final presidential debate highlighted the differences in character between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
Many of Obama’s comments were snarky, petty, condescending, even juvenile.
“But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works,” Obama said.
“You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916,” Obama said. “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.”
Obama went on, “And the — the challenge we have — I know you haven’t been in a position to actually execute foreign policy — but every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong.”
Turning to Israel, Obama said, “If we’re going to talk about trips that we’ve taken — when I was a candidate for office, first trip I took was to visit our troops. And when I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn’t take donors. I didn’t attend fundraisers.”
In desperation, Obama trotted out the fact that the trustee of Romney’s blind trust — as is the case with almost any mutual fund or retirement account — invested in Chinese companies or companies that hired workers overseas.
“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,” Obama said.
“Well . . . you are familiar with jobs being shipped overseas because you invested in companies that were shipping jobs overseas,” Obama said.
These comments may have impressed students watching a high school debating team, but they came across as nasty efforts to distract viewers from the solid points Romney was making.
Romney was able to lay out Obama’s record of economic failure and his apologetic, timorous approach to foreign policy while demonstrating his own grasp of foreign policy. Most important, Romney came across as presidential.
Romney’s character is sterling, and that manifested itself as he avoided responding to what can only be called Obama’s cheap shots while treating him with respect. As Obama occasionally smirked, Romney maintained a controlled smile. Throughout, Romney demonstrated that the caricature of him as a capitalist vulture or belligerent ideologue is bogus.
Romney won the debate in the most consequential way: He demonstrated that he is a leader whose character and competence make him singularly qualified to be president.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.


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