Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

AT LARGE: Romney Needs Lesson in Middle East Geography

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

AT LARGE: Romney Needs Lesson in Middle East Geography

Article excerpt

Well, the debate season during this year's campaign for president is over and with the election one week from Tuesday, incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney will be campaigning madly across the country for the next 10 days.

Wait -- let me take that back: they will be campaigning in a handful of "toss up" and near toss up states that will determine who can win the 270 Electoral College votes needed to become our next president.

And no, Alabama is not one of those states, it's in the bag for the Republican ticket. So don't expect to see Obama or Romney, or even their wives and vice presidential running mates, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan, jetting into the Heart of Dixie for last-minute pleas for our votes.

On my completely unofficial score card, I have Romney winning the first debate and Obama winning the other two, including the Oct. 22 debate on foreign policy, in which Romany agreed with the President's conduct of foreign affairs so often it appeared he was on the verge of endorsing him for a second term.

Obama came out swinging on a number of fronts in that final debate while about the only points Romney scored came as he repeated several times that Iran is four years closer to getting a nuclear weapon.

Of course, as Jon Stewart pointed out on The Daily Show, we are all -- me, you, everybody -- four years closer to having a nuclear weapon. I just haven't started building mine yet, how about you?

Obama was dismal in the first debate, with his head down on the split television screen, and offered little in the way of convincing rebuttal for the full 90 minutes in his first meeting with Romney.

It is to Obama's credit that he has been joking about that debacle of a performance on various television shows ever since.

One wonders if Romney would have done the same had he "lost" that first debate as decisively as did Obama, especially since he seemed to think, as he campaigned last week, the momentum is still on his side, ignoring the consensus of opinion that he lost the second debate and was clobbered in the third.

But Romney is correct in claiming that his decisive win in the first debate provided him with, as the pundits say, a "bounce" in the polls which tightened the race considerably, but by no means made the former governor of Massachusetts the undisputed front- runner. …

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