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The Final Presidential Debate Is a Yawner

Tom Egelhoff on the Final Presidental Debate
BOCA RATON, FL – OCTOBER 22: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) debates with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as moderator Bob Schieffer listens at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson World 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. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As our first measurable snowfall descends on the valley, the last Presidential debate between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney has mercifully come to an end. Tonight’s questions were delivered by moderator Bob Schieffer of TV’s “Face the Nation” and focused on the candidate’s views on foreign policy.

Not sure about you, but for me, discussions on foreign policy are about as exciting as watching paint dry. Unless it’s a vacation designation most people’s eyes glaze over when you start talking about wars in far away places with strange sounding names. If you asked 100 people on the street where Benghazi is, I doubt that 80 would know it’s location, or even worse, even heard of it.

A Very Busy Night in America

Last nights debate had some formidable competition. The San Francisco Giants were busy heading to the World Series by sending the St. Louis Cardinals home for the winter. In the motor city of Detroit, home of the Tigers who will be meeting the Giants, watched their NFL Lions lose to the Chicago Bears 13-7.

I guess it would be fair to say that no one in San Francisco was watching the debate. A fair percentage of Detroit residents probably had their TV sets tuned to the Lions loss. You can also take out St. Louis and Chicago. I will really be interested to see what the TV ratings numbers look like. Depending on the number of eyeballs on this one there could be some advantages for both candidates. Whoever lost will get the benefit of only having their best sound bites broadcast to the absentee debate watchers. So that might even things up.

Foreign Policy Often Gave Way to Local Issues

As with past debates, moderator Bob Schieffer had a tough time reining in these two Type A personalities. Both candidates were very adamant about getting their points across and getting the last word. Foreign policy came back home to jobs and the economy more than the moderator would have liked.

Debate watchers with way too much time on their hands had the time as Obama 41 minutes and Romney 40 minutes. Pretty fair right. Oh contraire. The faster-talking Romney said 7,984 words and Obama 7,506. Who are these people? So chalk up 478 more words for Romney. Perhaps we should nominate John Moschitta, the world’s fastest talker, for president in four years. Trying to picture the debates with him on the dais. That might get ratings.

Some Final Thoughts

As in past debates it’s not my job to pick a winner or loser. The talking heads will hash that over for the next two weeks. There are some sound bite zingers you’ll be hearing over the next couple of weeks. The big question as in all debates, “How did each candidate make you feel?” We are going to have to spend the next four years with one of these two men and as before I’m not sure tonight’s performance changed many minds. Many people have already voted by absentee ballot even before this debate. That tells me most minds are made up. I doubt there are many undecided minds out there.

While these national debates are important there are some local debates still on the horizon in our state. I strongly suggest you tune in to these any way you can. Most will be on radio, some might be on TV, but watch, listen, get informed. Put aside the attack ads and listen to the candidates themselves. That’s the only way to truly get to know a person — by listening to their words. All politics are local and you will shape the future of Montana for the next two years when you color in those ovals. I hope you are informed when you do it. You have a voice. Make it count. VOTE!

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