master debaters

What You Missed in the Foreign Policy Debate

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) debates with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University on October 22, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida. The focus for the final presidential debate before Election Day on November 6 is foreign policy.
Obama and Romney talking over each other, as is their wont. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Number of Times President Obama Mentioned Osama bin Laden: Six

Number of Times Mitt Romney Mentioned Osama bin Laden: Two

Number of Times Mitt Romney Said the Words Peace or Peaceful: 12

Number of Times President Obama Said the Words Peace or Peaceful: Zero

Five Most Frequently Mentioned Countries:
1. Iran (47) 
2 (tie). Israel (35)
2 (tie). China (35)
4. Syria (28)
5. Pakistan (25)
6. Iraq (22)
7. Afghanistan (21)
8. Libya (12)
9. Egypt (11)
10 Russia (10)

Country You Least Expected to Hear Mentioned: Mali

Nicest Thing Romney Said About Obama: “I congratulate him on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in al-Qaeda.”

Nicest Thing Obama Said About Romney: “To the governor’s credit, you supported us going into Libya and the coalition that we organized.”

Best Unintentional Seinfeld Impression

Most Confusing Alleged Joke: “We were together at a humorous event a little earlier, and it’s nice to maybe be funny this time not on purpose. We’ll see what happens.” — Romney, referring to the annual Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York which both candidates attended on Thursday night. 

Most Surprising Source: Mitt Romney pointed  to a study by “a group of Arab scholars … organized by the U.N.”

Least Credible Source: “When the president of Iran, Ahmadinejad, says that our debt makes us not a great country, that’s a frightening thing.” — Romney.

Three Most Gratuitous Swing-State Call-Outs:
1. “We’re 9 million jobs short of that. I’ve met some of those people. I’ve met them in Appleton, Wisconsin.” — Romney.
2. “ I — I met a young woman in — in — in Philadelphia who’s coming out of — out of college, can’t find work.” — Romney.
3. “I was having lunch with some — a veteran in Minnesota…” — Obama. (Minnesota isn’t really a swing state, but close enough.)

Most Redundancy: “It’s widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes.” — Romney.

Worst Geography: Romney said Syria is Iran’s “route to the sea”

Number of Times Obama Claimed That Romney’s Policies Are “All Over the Map”: Three

Worst Identity Mix-Up: Schieffer with the old Obama/Osama flub:

Most Commonly Overlooked Opportunities in Latin America: “Latin America’s economy is almost as big as the economy of China. We’re all focused on China. Latin America is a huge opportunity for us: time zone, language opportunities.” —Romney.

Sassiest Lines:

  • “The eighties are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” —Obama, on Romney referring to Russia as the United States’ No. 1 “geopolitical foe.”
  • “When it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the eighties, just like the social policies of the fifties and the economic policies of the twenties.” —Obama.
  • “Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.” — Obama, explaining why we have fewer ships now than we did in 1916. 

Word You Were Least Likely to Have Included in Your Debate Drinking Game: Bayonet 

Most Half-Hearted Protest:

Gentlest Euphemism for “You’re Lying”: “That’s the height of silliness.” —Romney.

Least Bold Statement: “I like teachers.” —Romney.

Most Awkward Post-Debate Photo:

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Winner: Obama