10/23/2012 08:08 am ET Updated Oct 23, 2012

Pundits Note Romney's Agreement With Obama, Obama's Attacks In Third Debate

Pundits spent a lot of time following Monday's presidential debate noting Mitt Romney and Barack Obama's apparently broad agreement on many key issues, and Obama's aggressive attacks on his rival.
n Romney was.

"The president came to rough up Mitt Romney," CNN's Candy Crowley said. "I feel like Mitt Romney approached this like a physician: first, do no harm."

Some criticized the debate itself. Chris Matthews said there was "far too much" focus on Israel and the Middle East, at the expense of the rest of the world. There was no mention of Europe and only glancing mentions of Africa and Latin America.

"I thought it lacked any kind of originality and importance," Matthews said. "...Any jackass can talk about bombing Iran. They never talked about the consequences of what we do."

On Fox News and MSNBC, commentators noted that Romney seemed to be trying to pull himself closer to Obama, even as the president attacked him. The two found basic harmony over bombing Libya, drone strikes, Israel, Iran and Syria, among other things.

"It was amazing" how much Romney agreed with Obama, Fox News analyst Joe Trippi said.

His colleague Stephen Hayes said that, in an effort "not to sound like George W. Bush," Romney wound up "sounding a lot like Barack Obama."

Chris Wallace provided a more acidic take on Obama's strategy. He said viewers just tuning in with no knowledge might think that "Barack Obama was the challenger trying somewhat desperately to catch up."

On CNN, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said that Obama had won "on points" — something polls seemed to agree with.



Presidential Debate: The Final Showdown