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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Sophia Peranteau watches the presidential debate at a local restaurant, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Las Vegas. President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney squared off in the third and final debate focusing primarily on foreign policy before the general election on Nov. 6. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Western Editorial Sampler: More on the final debate ...

— Debating America’s role in the world — Orange County Register Editorial

President Barack Obama had to sound like a commander in chief in Monday’s final debate. He did. Gov. Mitt Romney had to undermine the president’s claim to be a trustworthy leader in a dangerous world. He may have. Had it been a prize fight, it could have been scored a draw. In boxing, that means the reigning champion keeps the crown. We’re not so sure that’s what it means in presidential politics, especially in such a tight election. ...

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— An ironic final debate — Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

Monday’s final presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was striking in that the challenger Romney seemed to be the president and Obama the challenger. During the debate that mostly focused on foreign policy, the president was in attack mode, frequently deriding the challenger and often interjecting domestic-policy attacks, such as Romney’s business history, at the challenger. ...

— Romney stays on message in third debate — Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial

Each candidate loves Israel and wants better conditions for women abroad. Neither wants more war. Each wants more peace.

If anything is clear after the last of three debates between President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney, it is this: Foreign policy distinctions between the two are barely discernible. ...

— Debate downplays foreign policy contrast — San Francisco Chronicle Editorial

Any president of the United States enjoys a clear advantage when the subject turns to foreign policy, partly because the differences tend to be in nuance rather than bold strokes. President Obama made the most of his incumbent edge Monday night, assuming the role of the aggressor and challenging Mitt Romney to define the distinctions and defend his contradictions. Romney’s uneasiness was palpable. ...

— Romney plays it safe — Eugene Register-Guard Editorial

A foreign policy debate presents unique problems for a candidate running against an incumbent president. A challenger who is strident in his criticisms risks appearing to undermine American interests overseas, and can be perceived as injecting partisanship into areas where Americans wish to see national unity. Mitt Romney evidently had those pitfalls in mind during his third debate with Barack Obama, and the result was a series of me-too exchanges on vital issues. ...



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