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Barack Obama and Mitt Romney The candidates shook hands following their intense debate at Lynn University in Florida. (David Goldman / AP Images)

The Final Debate

Obama and Romney debate one last time before Election Day

By Topanga Sena | null null , null

Anticipation mounted at Florida’s Lynn University last night as President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, prepared to meet for their third and final debate.

“We’re watching history in the making,” said Sydney Putnam, a 20-year-old junior at Lynn University. Putnam was one of dozens of students who volunteered at the event, which was attended by 3,500 reporters and members of the media from around the world.

The stakes were high for both candidates. In the days leading up to the debate, polls showed Obama and Romney locked in a virtual tie. As this was the last time Obama and Romney would have a national audience, both men wanted to prove that they have what it takes to be President.

ASIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST

The debate’s topic was foreign policy, or how the United States works with other countries. Obama and Romney answered questions about the war in Afghanistan, violence in the Middle East, terrorism, and the possibility of Iran building a nuclear weapon.

Romney accused the President of not reaching the foreign policy goals he set while running for office in 2008; Obama accused Romney of not having a clear strategy on foreign policy.

“As long as I’m President of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon,” Obama said when asked about Iran. “We cannot afford to have a nuclear arms race in the most volatile [unstable or unpredictable] region of the world.”

Romney agreed that the U.S. needs to pay close attention to Iran. But he asserted that Obama is the wrong person to put pressure on that country. “One of the challenges we’ve had with Iran is that they have looked at this administration and felt that the administration was not as strong as it needed to be,” Romney said.

The candidates also sparred over America’s relationship with China, a country whose economy is expected to become larger than America’s within the next decade.

“We have an enormous trade imbalance with China, and it’s worse this year than last year, and it was worse last year than the year before,” Romney said.

Obama responded by saying America has to continue to assert itself in Asia to pressure China.

Which candidate made the better case for his foreign-policy credentials? Post-debate polls will help tell that story. Now with no more national campaign events left on the electoral calendar, all attention moves to the finish line: November 6, Election Day.

This article was written on location by a Scholastic News Kid Reporter. Topanga Sena is a member of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.

ELECTION 2012

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