Romney had mentioned the ship-strength of the navy previously, and it was weird and outdated then, and somehow he never corrected himself before repeating it again during the debate. Thus, Obama gets to snark on him about horses and bayonets. (And for fuck's sake, Politico et als--he said "fewer" horses and bayonets, not "none". Dig the taters out of your ears, as my sainted granny might say.) For that matter, in a gaffe that Obama did not seize on, Romney made the surprising comment last night that Syria was Iran's "path to the sea"--which he said before, is geographically nonsensical, and somehow he never got told not to repeat it. Behold--a map:
Iran does not lack for paths to the sea--like its own coastline! But the phrases "Iran's path to the sea" and the criticism of our current naval strength sound pretty good to the Governor. That should sound really bad to people who know better.
You know what else sounds good to Governor Romney--or at least, sounded good to him last night? Most of what President Obama is doing. Take a look at this (after the jump):
Sounded mighty lovey-dovey in places, no? There's a couple of good reasons for that. One, of course, is that Romney is shaking that old Etch-A-Sketch, tacking to the center and trying not to look like a scary hardliner who will get us into a war. But then again, another reason might have to do with simple debate strategy, given the debacle of his repeating the easily debunkable claim that the Obama Administration was slow to label the Benghazi attack "terrorism" in the last debate. He knew he couldn't aggressively counter Obama on foreign policy, so he, well, didn't.
That didn't stop him, of course, from repeating the also oft-debunked claim that Obama had gone on an "Apology Tour". The fact-checkers, of course, have called this one a big old fib, but man oh man does it die hard in the Wingnut Bubble . (Rubin seems to think that criticism of the errors of the past is exactly the same thing as apologizing for them. If this is so, may I ask when she means to stop apologizing for the Obama Administration?)
The places where Romney stopped agreeing with Obama were where his weaknesses were apparent--he's going to get the World Court to arrest and try Ahmadinejad for genocide. Um, right-o? Would that be the ICC that Republicans have traditionally resisted our being a signatory to? Would that be with the help of the UN? Would it be that easy-peasy? Oh, Mittens, you're a delight. Also, he's going to be much tougher on China, by the very obvious method of "calling them currency manipulators". Calling them things will certainly paint their little red Maoist wagon blue.
All in all, the third and final debate was a win for the President. It's not that there is nothing to criticize Obama's foreign policy for--it's just that Romney is not the guy to do it.