Libya: Neither addressed Benghazi-gate, which I frankly find shocking; this question became all about Libya when Gaddafi was still alive. On that, Obama wins, mostly because he was there.
Syria: Their answers really weren’t all that different. Romney was a bit tougher on identifying “responsible parties” in Syria that America could unite with, and also on the perception of weak leadership. For that reason, he wins this one.
America’s role: I’m disappointed that the phrase “city on a hill” was never uttered. Again, this drifted from the actual question, this time to a discussion of rebuilding the core. I don’t know how many people will tell you that Obama has done this well, but at least he didn’t rehash “five-point plan” and “apology tour.” He wins.
Defense budgets: Obviously Obama. It’s never occurred to Romney that a less bloated military budget that accounts for evolving capabilities is a stronger one.
Israel/Iran: “They cannot get a weapon. Eet’s not good. Eet’s bullsheet. They cannot get a weapon. They can NAHT. Oh hai, Mark.” Seriously, it was that lame. But Romney didn’t have anything to offer except earlier sanctions. Obama wins.
Afghanistan: I can’t remember this one because it was so short and dull. Call it a tie.
Pakistan: Both got this one essentially right – no isolation – but while Obama made the distinction between the Pakistani government and terrorists, Romney pointed out that the two haven’t had much daylight between them before. Tie.
Drones: My anti-drone friends, and I have several, are going to be very disappointed to note that both are pro-drone. Can’t remember any differences. Tie.
Biggest threat: I’m pretty sure only Obama answered this, and he said “terrorist networks.” Wouldn’t have been my first choice, especially considering this question was asked in the context of China, and he could have answered with the theme of economic weakness as a security threat. But at least he answered. So he wins this one.
China: Romney handled his opposition to the auto bailout well, but the currency thing is wasted. Obama failed by bashing the private sector for slacking off on R&D. Tie.
Debate format: Not bad at all. Bob Schieffer as the moderator was tougher in saying no to overtime than previous debaters. Both candidates respected their limits.
Overall tone: Two different debates. Obama was tough and Romney was twitchy.
Overall winner: Obama.