Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Obama Held Command On Foreign Policy, Observers Say

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There were debate watching parties across the city Monday, including one at the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan where many viewers noted the president's strong handle on foreign affairs. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Experts at the Council on Foreign Relations mostly agreed: President Obama turned in a command performance Monday on the topic of foreign policy which has been one of his biggest strengths.

"That was the theme of tonight, was Obama just being like, 'You're not commander in chief, you don't know how it works.' And he schooled him few and far between because of that," said Bill Schultz of CNN.

Since it was a crowd well versed on the intricacies of foreign policy, some even pointed out smaller gaffe's made by Romney that may not have been evident to everyone else, like Romney referring to Iran as "part of the Arab world."

"It's real clear that Romney was given a crash course in debate prep on how to talk about foreign policy. There is only so much you can keep in your head at any one point if you are not really knowledgeable. So he made a lot of little mistakes like that," noted Rachel Kleinfeldt of the Truman National Security Project.

Some say the 90-minute format did not favor Governor Romney, since he frequently failed to draw distinctions between his foreign policy approach, and the president's own policies.

"This is an area where Obama has the record and has the background and Romney simply doesn't and that's why saw Romney repeatedly trying to turn the debate back to domestic affairs," said Jonathan Tepperman of Foreign Affairs Magazine.

"Sorta the Republicans and the GOP establishment are reliant on talking points and sentiment that when it comes to requiring substance they have nothing to say," said Lorelei Kelly of the New America Foundation.

While NY1 did not speak to everyone who watched the debate at the Council on Foreign Relations, the station did speak to a broad cross section of people and the overwhelmingly consensus was that Obama had a very strong debate.

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