Close call

With less than a fortnight to go for voting day, the US presidential race is still evenly poised, although the incumbent, Barack Obama, has emerged from the third and final round of the presidential debate with a slight advantage.

At this point, he is ahead in the race although election pundits have ruled out that he will get anywhere close to the 365 electoral votes he got in 2008. However, the race is far from over and analysts are not writing off the Republican candidate Mitt Romney just yet; various opinion surveys reveal that just a few points separate the two presidential candidates.  Besides, Romney has made huge gains since the race for the White House began. If at the start of his campaign, he seemed unsure, in recent months he has emerged confident, even outperforming Obama in the first debate.  As the race to White House reaches the homestretch, Ohio has emerged the state that holds the key to who will be America’s next president.

The final presidential debate saw the two candidates battle it out on foreign policy issues. Romney pitched himself as more peaceful and sought to dispel the perception that he would lead America into more wars. In an attempt at projecting himself as moderate, he spoke of diplomatic solutions to the mounting crisis in Syria and punishing Iran with tighter economic sanctions, rather than an attack. However, his call for ouster of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad suggests that his new ‘moderation’ is superficial and strategic, aimed at winning over undecided voters. Opinion polls reveal that American voters see Obama as ‘wiser’ on foreign policy issues. Surveys abroad suggest that it is Obama that inspires more confidence in the rest of the world.

But it will be on economic issues that Americans will vote. And neither seems to have refreshing ideas on how to steer America out of its crisis. Romney has been sharply critical of Obama’s policies but he has failed to show an alternate vision that will work. His grand plans may bail out America’s super rich but for the poor and middle-class he has little to offer. As for Obama, instead of blaming countries like India for unemployment in the US, he should focus on new ideas for the economy that he will implement if given another term.

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