He did not mention President Barack Obama’s mishandling of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11 or the anti-Islam video Obama and his administration claimed was entirely responsible for the attacks, even after it was well known that it was an act of terrorism.
It was the zinger that conservatives across the country were hoping for, and Romney dropped the ball by pivoting away from Libya to the subject of Iran.
Obama nailed the Libya question, making his administration look pristine, while blasting Romney for his saying that Russia, not Al Qaeda, is the greatest geopolitical foe to the United States.
“And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War has been over for 20 years,” Obama said.
And Romney let it happen.
He made a quick attempt to refute Obama’s attack, explaining that he did say that Russia was our greatest geopolitical foe because the powerful U.N. member aligns itself with our enemies, but he said in the same interview that Iran is the biggest threat to the United States.
However, Romney then allowed Obama to talk over him again which entirely drowned his answer.
On Libya Obama came out the clear winner in that his administration’s gross failure to communicate internally about the cause of the attack and its indifference before the attack to the safety of Americans abroad was not discussed at all.
Romney did do better on the remaining questions in the debate, landing a few one-liners of his own, however it wasn’t enough to make up for the fact that he didn’t take Obama to task when he had an easy opportunity during the first 15 minute segment.