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Who won the final debate? The national papers say...


Wall Street Journal sort of picks President Obama: "Mr. Romney was clearly keeping his eye on his main challenge of the evening, which was looking Presidential on issues that offer an incumbent a natural advantage. He passed that test with ease, making no major mistakes while offering impressive detail on everything from the radical government in Mali—make that "north Mali"—to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. He wasn't rattled, and if anything looked cooler than a sometimes peevish Mr. Obama. The President scored more debating points, but he looked smaller doing it."

New York Times also calls it for Obama: "During the debate, on issue after issue, Mr. Romney sounded as if he had read the boldfaced headings in a briefing book — or a freshman global history textbook — and had not gone much further than that. Twice during the first half-hour, he mentioned that Al Qaeda-affiliated groups were active in northern Mali. Was that in the morning’s briefing book? ...

"Mr. Romney’s problem is that he does not actually have any real ideas on foreign policy beyond what President Obama has already done, or plans to do."

Washington Post picks the economy: "At times, and despite the best efforts of moderator Bob Schieffer to keep the discussion on foreign policy, the candidates veered into domestic policy, from the merits of smaller class sizes in schools to the auto bailout to the familiar but still unanswered question of how Mr. Romney would pay for his planned reduction in tax rates. The domestic discussion broke little ground, but the emergence during the foreign policy debate of what Mr. Obama called the importance of “taking care of business here at home” underscored the degree to which the economy remains the dominant issue of the election."

USA Today, one last time, calls it a tie: "Each candidate achieved something Monday night. Romney demonstrated knowledge of the issues, which sometimes eludes governors, and continued moving toward the center. Obama probably did better, fending off challenges to his core policies and exposing Romney's policy flip-flops.

"But with the last debate in the books, voters are still left with a lot of guesswork on matters that could change their lives."

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