“America remains the one indispensible nation, and the world needs a strong America, and it is stronger now than when I came into office,” Obama said.
The belief in American exceptionalism has long went hand in hand with patriotism in the United States. However, saying that America is the only indispensable nation in the world goes beyond a belief in America’s uniqueness. Considering a large part of the debate centered around stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and taking out its foes and our allies in the Middle East, Obama’s suggestion that America is the only indispensable nation in a world of 191 countries was incredibly insensitive.
Obama’s comment was especially shocking considering that he has previously been criticized by Republicans for apologizing for America on multiple occasions during an overseas trip soon after he took office.
“In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world, ” President Obama said in France on April 3, 2009. “Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”
GOP nominee Mitt Romney later mentioned President Obama’s apology tour during the debate, pointing out that Obama says he would stand with Israel if it feared violence from Iran, yet he skipped over Israel during that overseas tour.
“Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq, and — and, by the way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations,” Romney pointed out. “And, by the way – they noticed that you skipped Israel.”
“Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing,” Obama shot back. “This has been probably the biggest whopper that’s been told during the course of this campaign.”
President Barack Obama and the Obama campaign have accused the GOP nominee of changing his positions on key issues during the debates to win over voters. But if anyone radically changed his position during the debate Monday night in order to make a last ditch effort to win over undecided voters, it was certainly Obama with his new found American patriotism.