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Romney And Obama Are Different And The Same On Israel

Michelle Toh |
October 22, 2012 | 7:51 p.m. PDT

Assistant News Editor
(Neon Tommy Screenshot)
(Neon Tommy Screenshot)
When each candidate was asked whether he would stand by Israel in the event of attack, President Obama and Mitt Romney primarily agreed during the final presidential debate of the 2012 election.
“If Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel,” Obama declared.
“This week, we’ll be carrying out the largest military exercise in history,” he continued.
He pointed out that the administration has organized the strongest economic sanctions against Iran that were “crippling their economy” and giving them the choice to “re-enter the community nations.”
“The disagreement that I had with Governor Romney is that he’s often suggested that we should take premature military action, because I understand that that should be the last resort, not the first resort,” Obama said.
Romney said he agreed with Obama’s stance “to dissuade Iran from having a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means.”
“And crippling sanctions are something I called for five years ago,” he said. He pushed for a further tightening of sanctions, adding “I imagine the E.U. would agree with us as well.” 
“I'd make sure that Ahmadinejad is indicted under the Genocide Convention. His words amount to genocide incitation. I would indict him for it,” the former governor said. I would also make sure that their diplomats are treated like the pariah they are around the world. The same way we treated the apartheid diplomats of South Africa.”
“And of course, a military action is a last resort,” Romney added.
In return, Obama pointed out the significance of pursuing agreements that included all the major countries, “even countries like Russia and China,” saying that they served as “a testament to how we've restored American credibility and strength around the world.”  
Romney said one of the biggest challenges he saw was that the administration did not appear threatening enough toward the Iranian government. “I think they saw weakness where they had expected to find American strength,” he said, going on to discuss what he saw as Obama’s “apology tour” in the Middle East.
“Let me just respond,” Obama said. “Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. This has been probably the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign.” 
“And by the way, you skipped Israel,” Romney said. “And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel.”
“Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations,” he continued. “America has freed other nations from dictatorship.” 
Incensed, Obama spoke about his trip to Israel during his campaign for office, when he visited the Holocaust Museum. He said he used the trip to remind himself of “the nature of evil” and of the “unbreakable bond” the country had with America. “I didn't take donors. I didn't attend fundraisers… So, that’s how I’ve used my travels,” Obama said pointedly. “The central question is, at this point, is who is going to be credible to all parties? And they can look at my track record.”
Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage on the presidential debates here.
Reach Assistant News Editor Michelle Toh here.



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