Both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney needed to have a strong showing in Monday night’s third debate, the final major event before Election Day in an increasingly tight election. The debate at Lynn University, in Boca Raton, Fla., focuses on foreign policy, including Afghanistan, Israel, Iran, terrorism and the rise of China.
Live Updates EndedPlease read below for an archived view of this event.
The federal bailout of the auto industry came up again in the third and final debate.
When talking about China, Obama told Romney, if we had taken your advice, we would be buying our cars from China instead of selling them overseas.
Romney: Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a son of Detroit. I would do nothing to hurt the auto industry.
My plan was to get auto industry back on their feet. They needed to go through a managed bankruptcy to get rid of excess costs.
Obama: That is not what you said. You said that the auto industry could go through bankruptcy but you opposed federal intervention, saying the auto companies could find support in the private marketplace.
Let’s check the record.
Romney: This government is investing in a plug-in hybrid electrics, $500 million in loans to Fisker Automotive, a California-based start-up, that is assembling its first plug-in hybrid electric Karma in Finland. The administration says none of the loans has been used in Finland.
Government should invest in research, not in companies, Romney said.
Obama: Anybody out there can check the record on what you said about the auto bailout. Gov. Romney, you keep on trying to air brush history.
Candidates were asked: What do you believe is the greatest future threat to the national security of this country? They were also asked about China.
Obama: Terrorist networks is the greatest threat to America. China is an adversary but also a potential partner if it follows the rules. We’re going to insist that China plays by the same rules as everyone else.
We have brought more cases against China for violating rules, many more than previous administration.
We also have to make sure we are taking care of business here at home. We have to put money into research and technology, since that’s how we have lost some of our competitiveness.
Romney: The world’s greatest security threat is a Iranian nuclear threat.
On China: they want a stable world they don’t want to see protectionism, they have to manufacture goods and put people to work.
We can be a partner with China. We can work with them if they are willing to be responsible.
On Day One I will label them a currency manipulator.
Moderator: If you labeled China a currency manipulator, wouldn’t that start a trade war with China? Isn’t that a risk that could happen?
Romney: We have enormous trade imbalance with China. We have to understand we can’t just surrender. And this can’t keep on going, with them stealing our intellectual property, counterfeiting our products and more. They have to play by the rules.
I want a great relationship with China. But that doesn’t mean they can roll all over us.
Asked about the war in Afghanistan, the candidates were asked what they would do if the deadline arrives in 2014 to leave and the Afghanis are unable to handle their security. Does the U.S. still leave?
Romney: We will leave Afghanistan by 2014.
We will make sure that we look at what’s happening in Pakistan, which will have an impact on Afghanistan, the region and the world.
Obama: When I came into office, we ended war in Iraq, and put more focus on Afghanistan
We have met many of the objectives that got us there in the first place.
We decimated al-Qaeda’s core leadership. We are now in a position to transition out, but it most be done in a responsible way.
“After a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building at home,” Obama said.
He said it’s important to find jobs for veterans and help them with other problems they face when they come home.
Obama said goal is to get Iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program.
They have an opportunity to re-enter the community of world nations, Obama said
“The deal we will accept is they will end their nuclear program,” Obama said.
The clock is ticking, the president said. We are not going to allow to engage in negotiations that lead nowhere.
Romney said the challenge is that Iran sees a weak administration under Obama.
Romney said Obama began an apology tour — which the president disputed. When there was dissidence in the streets of Iran, the president was silent.
All of these things suggest to foreign nations we can keep on pushing along, Romney said.
He added that sanctions need to be tightened, and more pressure.
Obama said nothing Romney has said is true, and Romney has been all over the map on his strategies of dealing with Iran.
When it comes to tightening sanctions, Obama said his administration put in the toughest, most crippling sanctions.
The strength we have shown in Iran is we have been able to mobilize the world when it was once divided, Obama said.
But Romney said: “We are four years closer to a nuclear Iran.”
Would either of you be willing to declare an attack on Israel is an attack on the U.S.?
Obama called Israel a true friend and the nation’s closet ally.
“If Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel,” Obama said.
Romney said, “If I am president of the U.S., we will stand with Israel. “If Israel is attacked, we have their back.”
Romney said under his administration, the U.S. will have a North American energy independence policy, increased trade and stepped up involvement with Latin America.
“We are going to have training programs that work for our workser and schools,” Romney said. “The trachers unions are going to have to go behind.”
He said the nation is going to have to have a balance budget while championing small businesses.
Obama said he wants to reform education, hire more teachers in math and science because the U.S. has fallen behind in these subjects.
The president challenge Romney, saying that small businesses in Massachusetts when Romeny was governor, ranked among hte lowest in the nation.
He noted that Romney said that class sizes don’t make a differen
“If you talk to teachers they will tell you that it does make a difference,” Obama said.
Obama began the debate by noting that under his administration, the war has ended in Iraq, the core leadership of al-Qaeda has been decimated and America is transitioning out of Afghanistan in a responsible way.
With regards to Libya, he said said they promised they would investigate.
“We would go after those who killed Americans and bring them to justice and that’s what we are going to do,” Obama said.
He then questioned Romney’s foreign policy strategies, calling them “all over the map.”
Romney said his strategies are “pretty straight-forward: to go after the bad guys.”
The candidates were asked about the tragedy in Libya and the four deaths, including the American ambassador.
Romney said this is an area that is concern to the entire world, and there are numerous foreign issues – civilian deaths in Syria, threats from Iran and messages sent from Arab spring.
He congratulated Obama on taking out Osama bin Laden, but added: “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.”
“We must have a comprehensive strategy to reject this kind of extremism.”