The presidential debate portion of the campaign program is now complete, after President Obama and Mitt Romney tangled for the final time Monday night during a 90-minute session in Boca Raton, Fla. From Libya to Iran, China to Afghanistan, and even the domestic economy, the candidates waded through the differences (and similarities) in their policy positions.
Below is a closer look at few figures that mattered Monday night. Did we miss any? The comments section awaits. (You can also explore more trends by checking out the complete debate transcript here.)
* 10 (The number of times Romney and Obama mentioned “Libya”): Obama named the country seven times, to Romney’s three. Considering the unrelenting criticism Republicans have directed at Obama’s handling of the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi, it’s notable that Libya wasn’t discussed at greater length and Romney didn’t slam Obama harder on the issue. Moderator Bob Schieffer led the debate off with a Libya question, but the topic didn’t dominate to the extent the pre-debate sparring had foreshadowed.
* 25 (The number of times somebody used the word “economy”): For a foreign-policy debate, there sure was a lot of talk about domestic issues, including the one most voters appear to be prioritizing – the economy. Romney steered the discussion back home about 30 minutes in, when he argued that an effective foreign policy relies in part on the strength of the U.S. economy. Obama appeared perfectly content to discuss the economy — and the flaws he sees in Romney’s approach.
* 1980, 1916, 1917, 1950, 1920 (Years the candidates brought up): Obama came prepared to keep up a line of attack Democrats have been perpetuating; that Romney is advocating for outdated policies. After the Republican discussed what he saw as the danger of military spending cuts and a Navy “smaller now than at any time since 1917,” Obama offered perhaps the most memorable one-liner of the debate when he rebutted, “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”
* 35 (The number of seconds separating Obama’s speaking time from Romney’s): Neither candidate can complain that the other monopolized the time, as Obama and Romney split this debate right down the middle, according to CNN’s clock.
*47 (The number of times someone said “Iran”): There was no shortage of Iran talk Monday night, as Romney argued the country is “four years closer” to a nuclear weapon and Obama countered that the sanctions he pressed for are taking a toll.
* 32 (The number of times someone mentioned “China”): Obama and Romney have traded jabs in campaign ads seeking to cast each other as weak on China. That back-and-forth spilled into Monday’s debate, with both candidates underscoring themes they have mentioned in the campaign. “China can be our partner, but that doesn’t mean they can just roll all over us and steal our jobs on an unfair basis,” said Romney at one point. The remark prompted a harsh rejoinder from the president, who said, “Well, Governor Romney’s right, you are familiar with jobs being shipped overseas because you invested in companies that were shipping jobs overseas.”
Video: Highlights from the presidential debate in two minutes