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Romney Takes the Third Round

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With a new poll released by the Wall Street Journal earlier this week stating that the Presidential election was at a dead heat, many looked to the third debate to gauge which candidate would gain the final edge for the coming months. The format of the third debate was identical to the first, but with Bob Schieffer as the moderator and all questions focused on foreign policy. The Middle East and China were a few of the many topics discussed during the debate, but the question everyone asked was, who won the final debate?

Many expected President Barack Obama to win this debate, as former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney seems to be more of a domestic policy man. But with Mitt Romney gaining momentum in the race to the White House, he seemed to be less aggressive in this debate. Romney repeatedly agreed with the President and his policies on certain issues, but continued to assert that we can do more as a country and he would get us there. President Obama, on the other hand, was more aggressive and willing to express his disagreement with Romney on the issues. But did the strategies of each candidate ultimately help or hurt them? The effects of this debate won’t be seen until a day or two from now, but we can take an educated guess.

In light of the recent events in Benghazi, the President’s foreign policy approval rating dipped below 50 percent. The President was moderately specific about his policy proposals, but his more aggressive debate strategy could hurt his standing with others. Obama, though more aggressive, was unable to match Romney’s ability to be a centrist. Romney’s perceived diffused demeanor toward the President allowed him to be more broad and appear to be more in the center than the President (whether Romney is or isn’t is a completely different story). But during a debate, image is reality, and Romney appeared to be just right of center. Romney needs more independents to edge out Obama in the election, this debate only helped his cause.

With the election winding down, we can only expect more television advertisements; more visits to Ohio to campaign and more endorsements from major institutions and media outlets. Even though the debate matters, it matters more for undecided voters. Five hundred undecided voters from a major news corporation don’t speak for the undecided voters of the country. This debate allowed Republicans and Democrats to further entrench themselves in their beliefs and support their respective candidate, but did it ultimately help either candidate garner votes? Only time will tell, and the next few days should reveal the short-and long-term effects of the final debate.

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