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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Contentious Foreign Policy Debate Detours to Issues At Home

Although last night’s debate was focused on foreign policy, the candidates veered into domestic issues such as education and reshoring.

Last night, Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama squared off at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., for the third and final presidential debate. The debate occurred, as moderator Bob Schieffer reminded the candidates and the audience, on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s announcement about the discovery of “offensive missile sites” in Cuba. Fittingly, the topic was foreign policy, with high-profile subjects like Iran, China and Russia entering the debate, but frequently the candidates were given to diverting into domestic issues including the economy, unemployment and education.

ThomasNet News Managing Editor William Ng writes about the lengthy, contentious debate today on Machining Journal sister publication Industry Market Trends, but here are a few of the “hits” from the discussion as they apply to industry:

Governor Romney reiterated his intent to declare China a currency manipulator on day one, should he win the election, as well as promising to make hard moves against Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property and flooding the country with cheap goods. President Obama countered by citing his administration’s stand against China in WTO disputes (as we noted yesterday in IMT), and the country’s growing exports to China since he has been in office.

However, while Obama declared that the U.S. will make its presence known as a “Pacific power,” Romney embraced a collaborative approach: “China has interests very much like ours. We don’t have to be an adversary. We can work with them, we can cooperate with them.”

In a lateral move from the China question, Romney and Obama sparred over the governor’s opinions on the auto industry bailout of 2008. “If we had taken your advice, Governor Romney, about our auto industry, we’d be buying cars from China instead of selling cars to China,” the president said, referring to an op-ed Romney penned for the New York Times in 2008. Romney replied, “I said these companies need to go through a managed bankruptcy. And in that process, they can get government help and government guarantees, but they need to go through bankruptcy to get rid of excess cost and the debt burden that they’d built up.”

The final moments, as did many points during the debate, concerned the candidates’ respective views on education. Obama called attention to education initiatives his administration championed, citing the need to invest in American R&D and education to create good jobs in the United States. Romney pointed to his time as governor of Massachusetts, highlighting the need for states to control their education policies. “The federal government didn’t hire our teachers,” he said.

What did you think of last night’s debate? Were the candidates on point about China, reshoring and education? Tell us in the comments section below.

Brian Lane


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