President Barack Obama pushed his on-the-job knowledge in foreign policy in the third and final presidential debate before the Nov. 6 election, while challenger Mitt Romney defended himself. Latin American came up fleetingly, to the chagrin of many Latinos who took to social media to bemoan its virtual absence.
“We’re going to increase our trade,” Romney said, in describing what he would do if elected. “Trade grows about 12 percent per year. It doubles about every — every five or — or so years.”
“We can do better than that, particularly in Latin America. The opportunities for us in Latin America we have just not taken advantage of fully,” Romney said. “As a matter of fact, Latin America’s economy is almost as big as the economy of China. We’re all focused on China. Latin America is a huge opportunity for us: time zone, language opportunity.”
Despite the debate’s stated focus on foreign affairs, time after time the rivals turned the discussion back to the slowly recovering U.S. economy, which polls show is the No. 1 issue for most voters.
Recent polls, in fact, have showed that voters want their political leaders to focus more on jobs than on foreign policy. But when asked about foreign policy, Latinos have expressed more confidence in Obama, except for Cuban-Americans, who view Republicans as tougher at handling enemies – like the Castro brothers and Chavez — of the United States.
Obama and Romney are locked in a close race in national opinion polls. The final debate behind them, both men intend to embark on a final two-week whirlwind of campaigning.