Campaign Trails – October 24
2:11 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Foreign Policy in the Presidential Election

This week on Campaign Trails, Political Science Professor Vin Auger of Western Illinois University talked about this week’s foreign policy debate between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Auger said there was very little difference between the two on many of the issues that were brought up. He said Romney agreed with the president’s policies regarding drone strikes, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and more.

Auger was surprised to hear so much consensus.

“Especially given the fact that on the campaign trail over the past few months Governor Romney has often staked out positions that were considerably more hardline, for lack of a better word,”Auger said.

Auger believes Romney’s goal was to come off as reassuring, calm, and reasonable on foreign policy matters.  He said President Obama’s goal was to appear commanding and perhaps a bit aggressive in terms of his knowledge of foreign policy issues.

Auger said numerous important issues were not discussed during the debate. They include the European debt crisis, trade with Latin America, and the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Another such issue is global warming.

“Certainly most of the rest of the world is concerned about it and it’s something that any US president is going to have to be able to shape policy on,” Auger said.

Also this week, Associate Professor Janna Deitz of WIU’s Political Science Department pointed out the economy remains a top issue for many voters while foreign policy is a lesser priority, and the order of the debates reflected that.

“Early voting has begun in many states. People perhaps have made up their mind (in advance of the foreign policy debate),” Deitz said.

Campaign Trails will air every Wednesday during Afternoon Edition in the weeks leading up to the November 6 election.