Though Mitt Romney adopted a more subdued style during the final debate in Florida, he was readily victorious over an incumbent president with a rather fragile ego who wouldn’t know clarity if it hit him over the head. How many times did President Obama utter the phrase, “I was clear…"?
First, the nonverbals. Still shaking from the first debate for which he was grossly criticized for not engaging in eye contact with Romney, Obama overcompensated this time, his eyes blinking continuously as if he were ready to pounce at any moment. This body language not only made the president appear angry and pugnacious, but it also revealed that he was under a great deal of pressure. Romney’s recent surge has led to desperation for the Obama campaign. After all, over the past few weeks Romney has had to counter fierce attacks about Big Bird and “binders.”
For those who lean toward a narcissistic character, stress causes the fragile ego to crumble. The president demonstrated this when, during the discussion about military spending, he resorted to condescension, attempting to make Romney look ignorant. Such tactics highlight Obama’s lack of confidence in his own decisions and cause him to appear far less than presidential.
As for Mitt Romney, it became apparent that he wanted to present himself as a responsible commander-in-chief, not the warmonger the Democrats have made him out to be. Romney accomplished this goal by adopting, and expounding upon, Ronald Reagan’s philosophy of peace through strength. In addition, Romney made the essential point that the most significant enemy to our national security is our debt and our failing economy. When Americans aren’t working, they’re depressed and not hopeful about the future. Psychologically and concretely, an economy in decline undermines our strength. Economic growth is the first best defense. A commander-in-chief who recognizes this is a true leader who knows that we have to move from the internal to the external.
Though his decision to refrain from hammering Obama on the Libya debacle may not have been cathartic for the president’s critics, Mitt Romney did deliver some notable challenges to Obama, in particular the latter’s unmistakable apology tour which, of course, Obama denied.
Romney’s most salient point was that Obama has failed in leadership among other nations because he has not clearly denounced Islamic extremism, favoring instead a philosophy of political correctness that has merely swept critical problems under the foreign policy rug.
Best line by Mitt Romney: “Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations; we have freed other nations from dictators.”