Mitt Romney should be fairly pleased with his performance in the third debate today. A challenger goes into a foreign policy pretty much as an underdog, with the incumbent holding most of the aces and the inside knowledge. It is damn hard to win it as a challenger, but a slipup of any sort is the makings of losing badly.
Romney managed to steer clear of foul-ups and at the same time managed to make a good impression as someone the ability to do the job. The President attempted to paint him as a newbie with little skill, knowledge, and no experience but only succeeded in appearing condescending against a man who kept his cool in the face of it.
President Obama really needed a big win from this one to have a chance of regaining the momentum in the campaign, but failed to do much more than come off with a tie. Romney has probably come off best by looking like a sound alternative to the electorate, and looked more comfortable and at ease than the President.
Most of the immediate polls gave it to Obama, although one on whether respondents would be likely to change their vote on the debate result gave Romney a win. These polls though are only an indication of the immediate knee-jerk response and are probably not much of an indication. Polls over the next few days will tell the story.
One of the problems though, is that it was essentially a debate between two guys who are essentially promising to do pretty much the same thing only more competently. The whole thing would have been improved by tossing Gary Johnson into the mix to put the cat among the pigeons with an actual alternative.
After the last two debates it was nice to see a real moderator at work, even if he did fluff it a bit with his “Obama bin Laden” remark.