In China, media commentaries seemed unfazed by the tough rhetoric spouted by the candidates. “Willing or not, Democratic or Republican, the next U.S. president shall have to tone down his get-tough-on-China rhetoric made along the campaign trail, and deal with his country’s sclerotic ineptness toward China’s inevitable rise,” said a commentary that ran on Xinhua, the state-run news agency, immediately after the debate.
The commentary called trade disputes “speed bumps” thrown in the way of China’s advancement, and said “a contagion of China-phobia syndrome” was spreading across the United States.
The debate drew a wide online audience, where it was live-streamed starting at the relatively convenient time of 9 a.m. Most of the mainstream media outlets devoted special reports to the last face-off of this presidential campaign.
Chinese have been intensely following the American election, paying far closer attention than they did in 2008, mostly because of the explosive growth of the Internet here and the Twitter-like microblogging site called “weibo.”
One hour after the debate, the name Obama was the seventh-most searched term on weibo, with “U.S. presidential election” being the 10th-most searched term.
In mostly pro-Obama Europe, a continent whose name was uttered only once in the debate, some commentators saw the lack of focus on their part of the world as a victory. Romney has been using Europe’s economic problems as an attack line against Obama on the campaign trail.
It “is a good sign” for the European Union that it didn’t come up, since “Republicans have been using countries like Greece and Spain as a exhibits of failed states,” wrote the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
But with many people in Europe surprised at the possibility that Romney might win, some saw the challenger in a new light after the three debates this month, even if they called Monday’s event for Obama.
“Romney seemed as though he were already Commander-in-Chief,” wrote the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, “while Obama, his opponent, violently attacked him, sometimes patronizingly.”
Richburg reported from Beijing. Liu Liu in Beijing contributed to this report.