How the foreign policy presidential debate got eclipsed by domestic issues

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  1. During the third and final presidential debate of the 2012 election, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney turned their answers on foreign policy questions to domestic issues. Here are some instances where both candidates changed the subject and voters reacted on Twitter.
  2. (AFP/Getty Images)
  3. On strategies for keeping Americans safe

  4. Romney: And how do we do that? A group of Arab scholars came together, organized by the U.N., to look at how we can help the -- the world reject these -- these terrorists. And the answer they came up with was this: 

    One, more economic development. We should key our foreign aid, our direct foreign investment, and that of our friends, we should coordinate it to make sure that we -- we push back and give them more economic development. 

    No. 2, better education. 

    No. 3, gender equality. 

    No. 4, the rule of law. We have to help these nations create civil societies. 
  5. On stability in the Middle East

  6. Obama: ...No. 4, we do have to develop their economic -- their economic capabilities. 

    But No. 5, the other thing that we have to do is recognize that we can't continue to do nation building in these regions. Part of American leadership is making sure that we're doing nation building here at home. That will help us maintain the kind of American leadership that we need. 
  7. On Egypt and Mubarak

  8. Romney: Former chief of the -- Joint Chiefs of Staff said that -- Admiral Mullen said that our debt is the biggest national security threat we face. This -- we have weakened our economy. We need a strong economy. We need to have as well a strong military. Our military is second to none in the world. We're blessed with terrific soldiers, and extraordinary technology and intelligence. But the idea of a trillion dollars in cuts through sequestration and budget cuts to the military would change that.
  9. On America's role in the world

  10. Final Presidential Debate on Foreign Policy: Mitt Romney, President Obama to Address Iran
  11. Romney: We recognize that there are places of conflict in the world. We want to end those conflicts to the extent humanly possible. But in order to be able to fulfill our role in the world, 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 slowing down its growth rate. You can't have kids coming out of college, half of them can't find a job today, or a job that's commensurate with their college degree. We have to get our economy going.
  12. Obama: But what we also have been able to do is position ourselves so we can start rebuilding America, and that's what my plan does. Making sure that we're bringing manufacturing back to our shores so that we're creating jobs here, as we've done with the auto industry, not rewarding companies that are shipping jobs overseas. 

    Making sure that we've got the best education system in the world, including retraining our workers for the jobs of tomorrow. 

    Doing everything we can to control our own energy. We've cut our oil imports to the lowest level in two decades because we've developed oil and natural gas. But we also have to develop clean energy technologies that will allow us to cut our exports in half by 2020. That's the kind of leadership that we need to show. 
  13. On where Romney would get money for a bigger military

  14. Final Presidential Debate Focus on Foreign Policy
  15. Schieffer: Governor, you say you want a bigger military. You want a bigger Navy. You don't want to cut defense spending. What I want to ask you -- we were talking about financial problems in this country. Where are you going to get the money?
  16. Romney: The good news is (inaudible). I'd be happy to have you take a look. Come on our website. You look at how we get to a balanced budget within eight to 10 years. We do it by getting -- by reducing spending in a whole series of programs. By the way, number one I get rid of is Obamacare. 
  17. Obama: Look, Governor Romney's called for $5 trillion of tax cuts that he says he's going to pay for by closing deductions. Now, the math doesn't work, but he continues to claim that he's going to do it. He then wants to spend another $2 trillion on military spending that our military is not asking for.
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