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October 23rd, 2012
11:04 AM ET

Fmr. Clinton W.H. Comm. Dir. on final presidential debate: ‘I think it was kind of toe to toe’

President Obama and Mitt Romney faced-off for a final time last night, making their case one more time before undecided voters. President Obama was the more aggressive candidate to a more restrained Romney. A CNN/ORC poll of debate watchers determined Obama the winner, with 48% for Obama and 40% for Romney. In the same poll asking debate watchers who spent more time attacking his opponent, 68% said Obama and 21% said Romney. The Worldwide President & CEO of Burson-Marsteller Don Baer comes to “Early Start” to share his reaction. Baer is Former Clinton White House Communications Director. Baer prepared President Bill Clinton for his re-election debates in 1996.

Baer thinks the debate showed Obama’s capability as commander-in-chief. “I think President Obama showed that he’s learned how to run foreign policy well,” Baer says. “He was steady and strong. He was also sort of aggressive and assertive with regard to Governor Romney.”

Baer remarks on the tone of the campaign thus far, calling it “long and confusing” and “very rancorous”. “You boil it all down it’s pretty simple,” Baer says. “The American people want two things, they want peace and they prosperity. And actually, if you listen to the debate last night, both sides were trying to talk about,” how we get more of both.

Baer thinks Romney “came across as someone who was credible as commander-in-chief.” Baer thinks Obama may have looked overly aggressive, though he says he needed to do that. “I think he needed to be strong in terms of the defense of his foreign policy over the last several years,” Baer says. “But I think overall, the country wants to see that the president is assertive with regard to American security, and I think they saw that in him last night.” Still, Baer says the match was pretty even, and Election Day will really determine the winner. “I think it was kind of toe to toe,” Baer says.

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