First of all, if you haven't already watched the debate, a video of it, or read the transcript, you need to do that first. Why? Because all you'll find written or said about it is spin. Spin, spin, spin. I'll give you my own honest opinion about it, but please watch the debate yourself to make your own opinion without having one handed to you by any post-debate "analysis."
First of all, I was impressed with the moderation. It was by far the most fair of the debates, though I have not yet seen reports about total minutes given to each candidate, etc. Many of the questions seemed equally difficult for both men.
I was disappointed that Romney couldn't pummel Obama in this debate given Obama's horrible record, but Obama didn't allow himself to be pummeled because of his attitude, not that he explained his failures as failures. Either he's delusional or deliberately misleading Americans as to the results of his foreign policy, but either way Romney raised some good questions for Americans to reflect on our position abroad, and explained many situations abroad with clarity and a depth of understanding.
This debate didn't change anything, and I doubt it will create a new surge of support for either one. Both men were strong. I doubt this will give Obama any momentum going into the election, but then again his complicit media friends will have our ears instead of the candidates themselves for the next two weeks. Overall Romney was much more polite than Obama. Overall Obama was not as serious when talking about serious foreign policy issues as Romney. Obama also interrupted Romney repeatedly, thanked no one, and came across patronizing and arrogant more than once. Obama wasn't near as obnoxious as Biden was on these topics, but he was irritating enough.
Both men showed a good understanding of foreign policy in general - especially Romney, who has more to prove as the challenger. Too bad Obama's rhetoric doesn't match up with his record! Romney would bring up some of the issues in Obama's record and Obama gave a weak defense to most of them if he responded to specifics at all, stronger or off-topic defenses for others. Obama would attack Romney for shifting positions on foreign policy which Romney explained as Obama not understand the heart of Romney's positions, meaning the principle stays the same even if the action he would prefer changes over time - much as the situations abroad change and demand different actions over time. Romney also said, twice, that Obama attacking him is not a foreign policy. I think that will resonate with Americans that Obama dodged repeatedly.
The topic frequently meandered to the economy here at home, since it does relate directly to how we're seen abroad. Romney made the same points about Americans projecting weakness because of our escalating deficit, high unemployment, and lower take home pay. Obama made the same points he always does about Romney's math not working out even though it does. As Romney says himself, he's made a living out of balancing budgets and Obama's never balanced a budget! I do wish Romney had explained this the way he did in the first debate when he said that the reason revenue increases with lower tax rates is more jobs are created creating more tax payers and also have higher incomes with with to generate more revenue. Works every time!
In conclusion, Romney opened strong. Obama finished strong. Romney didn't get less strong, Obama just got more sure of himself about half way through. It was really boring for me by the end.
I have not yet looked at any debate analysis or spin or fact-checking, first wanting to get out my own unbiased opinion on the debate. I'll still look at some analysis, because I know there are points I have missed that I should consider. Consider doing the same, but not until after you've watched it for yourself! And as always, I remind you to look at both sides, because they point out completely different yet valid things about these debates. As with any other topic.