In the third and final presidential debate President Barack Obama did an effective job of reminding voters that Republican challenger Mitt Romney has been inconsistent on foreign policy.
Unlike in the first presidential debate, Obama did not let allow Romney to flip-flop from his previous controversial statements.
He reminded voters that on foreign policy Romney was wrong for supporting the war in Iraq, for opposing the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, for being inconsistent on Afghanistan and for opposing nuclear treaties with Russia.
In the debate Monday night it was clear that Romney was seeking to appear more moderate to centrist voters.
However, the facts are that Romney has frequently changed positions on how he would have handled Iraq and Afghanistan, has previously expressed bellicose language about the Middle East and has a dated Cold War view toward Russia.
On Afghanistan, Romney agreed with Obama that U.S. forces should complete their withdrawal by the end of 2014. Previously he has criticized the setting of a specific withdrawal date.
On Osama bin Laden, Romney congratulated Obama ‘on taking him out and taking on the leadership of al-Qaida.” He has previously suggested capturing the terrorist leader was not a top priority.
Romney once again inaccurately described Obama’s trip to the Middle East early in his presidency as an “apology tour.”
He was referring to a claim repeatedly and wrongly made by conservatives against the president. Obama did not apologize for U.S. behavior during his travels, a fact pointed out by reporters and independent fact-checkers. The Washington Post gave this claim four Pinocchios, its worst rating for an inaccurate statement.
While Romney sought once again o distance himself from the failed foreign policies of the Bush administration, the fact is that several of the his campaign’s foreign policy advisers served in that administration and had advocated for the war in Iraq.