The decisive winner of Monday night’s final presidential debate, according to Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, was Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“I think it’s unequivocal that Romney won,” Krauthammer said during Fox News Channel’s wrap-up of the debate. “He didn’t just win tactically, but strategically. Strategically, all he needed [was] to draw and continue momentum he’s had since the first debate, and this will continue it. Tactically, he had to go up there and show he’s a competent man as somebody who you could trust as commander in chief, a man who knows every area of the globe, and he gave interesting extra details, like the Haqqani network, which gave the impression he knows what he’s talking about.”
Krauthammer said Obama made a mistake by focusing on “small” matters, while Romney successfully discussed the “big picture” and avoided getting lost in the weeds on Libya details.
“But there is a third level here, that is what happened in the debate. We can argue about small points and debating points. Romney went large — Obama went very, very small — shockingly small. Romney made a strategic decision not to go after the president on Libya, or Syria, or other areas where Obama could be accusing him of being a Bush-like warmonger. Now, I would have gone after Obama about Libya like a baseball bat, but that’s why Romney has won elections, and I never even have contested them. What he did was stay away from that, and that might have actually worked for him. What he did concentrate on is the big picture. People don’t care that much about what our policy on Syria is going to be. They care about how America is perceived in the world and how America carries itself in the world.”
Romney impressed Krauthammer specifically by referencing the president’s rhetoric abroad.
“And the high point of that debate for Romney is when he devastatingly leveled the charge of Obama going around on an apology tour,” Krauthammer continued. “Obama’s answer was, ‘Ask any reporter, they’ll be able to tell you it wasn’t so.’ It’s about as weak an answer as you could get. And Romney’s response was … to quote Obama saying, ‘We dictate to other nations,’ and Romney said, ‘We do not dictate to other nations. We liberate them.’ And Obama was utterly speechless. … I thought Romney had the day. He looked presidential. The president did not. And that’s the impression I think that is going to be left.”
“I think those on the right, like me, who would have loved to have been bellicose and loved the near-fisticuffs in the last debate will understand exactly why Romney did it. He stayed away from pitfalls. He did not allow himself to be painted as a warmonger. This is what Reagan understood in 1980. He it did well — Romney did, and I think this could help him win the election.”