The current economic situation of the United States could not hide behind the focus on foreign policy to area residents and local officials who watched the final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on Monday night.
“If we don’t fix our financial situation and get our deficit under control, we could fall from the inside,” said Maryland Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington. “We are connected globally now more than ever.”
Maryland Sen. Ronald N. Young, D-Frederick/Washington, also agreed that the economy was the most important national security issue.
“We have to stop trying to police the whole world,” he said. “We need to come back and rebuild our economy.”
Serafini and Young, however, had different opinions on who won the debate.
Serafini said that even though Romney has no track record to run on regarding foreign policy, he liked what the candidate said Monday.
“Both made good points, but I don’t like what we have done the last four years,” he said.
Young, however, said that Romney changed his position on many foreign policy issues Monday and that he thinks Obama won the debate.
“Romney agreed with the president on almost everything, all of which he disagreed with the president on at one point, including troop withdrawals and going after Osama bin Ladin,” he said.
Smithsburg Republican Mayor Mildred “Mickey” Myers said she thinks the debate was a draw.
“Both men tried to make their case in the best way that they could,” she said. “Romney did a good job saying how he would be different.”
Maryland Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, however, said that he thinks Obama won the debate.
“The president did a great job defending his administration’s efforts to take care of our country and bring peace to the world,” he said.
CBS and CNN polls after the debate indicated Obama winning.
Keedysville resident Pat Heck, 75, is an Obama supporter and said that he needed to win the debate. She also said that the country’s economy and foreign policy are interconnected.
“Our finances to some degree are affected by Europe and affected by the Middle East,” she said. “I liked
Obama’s answers in the debate, and I’ve seen Romney say where he wants to start wars and suddenly he’s a big peacemaker.”
Waynesboro, Pa., resident Joe Leclaire, however, is currently supporting Romney and said that he thinks the debate was a tie.
“If we’re weak in the economy we’re going to be weak all over the place,” he said.
Leclaire, 72, added that he thinks Romney performed well in the debate Monday.
“I think Obama was a little bit arrogant as far as some of his answers went,” he said. “I thought that was a pretty snide remark about the military not using bayonets.”
The “bayonets” remark came after Romney criticized Obama for the size of the Navy being at its lowest level since 1916, to which Obama said that the military also uses fewer horses and bayonets since then as well.
Great Cacapon, W.Va., resident James Wilson, 56, said that he thinks Obama won the debate is leaning toward supporting Obama in the election.
“Obama was more on the offensive, and he stopped Romney when he was rambling,” he said. “Obama had a really tough job coming in, and I figured it would take two terms to straighten it out.”
With the debates over, Election Day is now less than two weeks away, and early voting in Maryland begins Saturday.