Bob Schieffer (R) looks on as U.S. President Barack Obama (C) greets Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L). (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
BOCA RATON - President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney outlined different visions of the U.S. role in the world.
The two men argued foreign policy Monday night in the final debate before Election Day.
Romney said the U.S. has the "responsibility and privilege" to promote peace throughout the world. But he said domestic issues like the sluggish economy and debt had weakened U.S. leadership.
Romney said he would not cut military spending as president and would work to strengthen international alliances.
Obama said the U.S. was the "one indispensable nation" in the world and is stronger now than when he took office. He said the U.S. should rebuild its economy by keeping jobs in the country rather than shipping them overseas.
At one point, the two men shifted their debate on foreign policy toward domestic issues that are foremost on voters' minds.
Obama turned questions during Monday's debate around and made them about jobs and the economy. Romney, too, pivoted from foreign policy questions to his five-point domestic agenda for jobs and the economy.
At one point, debate moderator Bob Schieffer seemed exasperated. "Let me get back to foreign policy," he pleaded.
Obama answered one foreign policy question by talking about his education initiatives and criticized Romney's tenure as Massachusetts governor.
Romney, too, detoured stateside. When asked about America's role in the world, he shifted the talk to college students who are graduating without jobs.
Returning to foreign policy, Obama later said his military spending is "driven by strategy" not by politics.
The president rejected criticism from Romney, who says Obama wants to cut the military by $1 trillion. Obama disputed that figure, but said spending needs to be based on the capabilities required by the military, not just budgets.
Obama accused Romney of calling for increases in military spending that the Pentagon doesn't want.
Romney said he would boost the number of naval ships because the U.S. fleet is the smallest since 1917. The president shot back, saying that was because technology has changed the nature of the military.
Romney said he would pay for increases in military spending by getting rid of Obama's health care overhaul and other programs he deems unnecessary.
Obama says published reports that the United States and Iran are planning to meet one-on-one after the election are "not true."
On Iran, Obama said published reports that the United States and Iran are planning to meet one-on-one after the election are "not true."
Obama said the United States will keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but he will not engage in negotiations that go nowhere. Obama added that "the clock is ticking."
On Saturday, the White House said it is prepared to talk one-on-one with Iran to find a diplomatic settlement to the impasse over Tehran's reported pursuit of nuclear weapons, but there's no agreement now to meet.
The New York Times reported that the U.S. and Iran have agreed in principle to negotiations. The White House denied that any such agreement had been reached.
Obama is pushing back on rival Mitt Romney's suggestion that the president has apologized for the United States on the world stage. Obama called the accusation the "biggest whopper" of the campaign.
Obama pushed back on rival Romney's suggestion that the president has apologized for the United States on the world stage. Obama called the accusation the "biggest whopper" of the campaign.
Romney insisted Obama had apologized for the U.S., noting the president had given a speech in Egypt early in his term saying America had been "derisive" and at times had dictated to other nations.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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