Romney came into last nights debate with a plan: to target the few remaining undecided voters and convert them. This was a chess move. He has demonstrated his willingness to attack in the first debate, spar in the second, and aikido in the third.
My observations on last night's debate: Romney knew his supporters will remain in his camp and there is very little he can do to loose them. I have my reservations like many here on RedState but I have mustered as much enthusiasm I can in order to support the R&R Ticket. While we all enjoy some Rest and Relaxation, I want our national economy and population to get back to Work. I am campaigning, calling and donating. Because we can't afford, I can't afford, 4 more of Obama's Lost Years. And Romney knows, assumes (rightly I think) that most of the like-minded individuals will be on board. We are less than 2-weeks out from the election and there are few votes to be had. But Romney made a play for them.
His repeated use of the word "peace" and related phrases, his standing above the fray as Obama attempted to drag him into the muck, mud and mire of antagonism and conflict, his chuckle at Obama's closing remarks, his broad sweeping vision for US foreign policy based on principle and strength, and his direct connection and attacks on economic and domestic problems inherent in Obama's administration played to his sweet spot.
Romney was calm when Obama ranted about horses and bayonets and insulted his intelligence when describing the Navy fleet consisting of ships, boats, submarines and carriers. Romney didn't defend himself like I would have liked, but I will vote for him anyway. Instead he sought to lay out a vision of world peace that in some bizarre way may appeal to women and confused young men who do not understand that the world is dominated by the aggressive use of force. Technically, in terms of market share and acquisition costs for new votes relative to broadcast audience (60M) and commercial spending, this was hands down the right move. Romney is, if nothing else, a smooth operator.
Romney gave them what they wanted to hear: "I am not pro-war." But know this, Romney also laid down a clear line between himself and Obama - he will not dismantle the military. So that it will be there when he needs it or future generations need it. I have no doubt that Romney is not the ignorant buffoon that Obama is when it comes to the use of our military.
When Obama started talking about guns falling into the wrong hands I almost fell out of my seat. I desperately wanted Romney to shout "what the hell happened in Libya and Egypt? Do you think those arms that terrorist have been using did not come from the US?" But this may have opened a can of worms in terms of intelligence briefings that Romney has become aware of as his campaign has been brought into the fold of intel communications. Instead he chose the higher road, implied Obama's incompetence and left it at that. Again deflecting, dodging and parrying rather than going for the jugular. That set Obama on edge, and it made Mitt look Presidential.
On a side note, does it strike anyone else as ironic that our greatest adversary in the last decade shares 4 of 5 letters with our president's name. Teddy Kennedy and others have fumbled Obama/Osama - but we keep coming back to it. That's like Hitler vs. Titler (instead of Truman) or Gorbachev up against Rorbachev (instead of Reagan). Apparently Bob Schieffer does... "Obama bin Laden."