President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney engaged in a nationally televised foreign policy debate Monday, October 22, and agreed to continue aggressive American military involvement around the world. According to an instant poll by CNN, viewers gave a narrow 48-40 percent victory in the Lynn University debate to President Obama.
The debate took place just one day in advance of a third-party debate by four peace candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson, Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode, Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson, which is not expected to be televised by any commercial U.S. station (C-SPAN, Al Jazeera, and Russia Television are expected to broadcast the third-party debate). All four third-party peace candidates agree on ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (which is now largely waged by U.S. troops), stopping a possible war against Iran, closing Guantanamo Bay prison, and other issues. The Obama-Romney debate was televised by most domestic commercial news channels.
Obama and Romney both agreed to edge up to war with Iran and to continue military and drone strikes across the Middle East. Obama started off the debate with the claim that “my first job as commander in chief, Bob, is to keep the American people safe. And that's what we've done over the last four years.” He added that part of keeping America safe is to “project military power overseas.”
The United States government spends more than 40 percent of all worldwide military spending. With the U.S. enjoying a major technology edge in the military weaponry, neither candidate made a case for efficiently defending the nation with less spending. Governor Romney pledged “ I will not cut our military budget,” and his campaign has put a floor on military spending at four percent of gross domestic spending, which is the level the United States spent during the Iraq and Afghan wars.
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Photo of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at the October 22 presidential debate: AP Images