Presidential candidates clash in third and final debate ahead of election
US President Barack Obama has hit back at his Republican challenger, Governor Mitt Romney in the third and final presidential debate in Florida.
During the debate, the rivals discussed their foreign policy plans, engaging over the Arab Spring, Iran, Israel and China. (Despite the rhetoric there is little difference between the two candidates on foreign policy).
Mr Obama accused Romney of being "all over the map" on foreign policy; while . But Mr Romney said the president had allowed "chaos" to engulf the Middle East.
The Democratic president was on the offensive from the offset, but analysts say Mr Obama did not land any knockout blows on Mr Romney.
Mr Romney’s campaign has been gathering momentum with two weeks to go until the election day.
The debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida was moderated by veteran CBS News presenter Bob Schieffer.
While not as turbulent as the presidential candidates meeting at the last debate, there were several scathing exchanges. Mr Obama, the current president sought to portray his challenger as a novice, lacking the consistency to be commander-in-chief.
Mr Obama accused Romney of flip-flopping over policies in the middle east. "What we need to do with respect to the Middle East is strong, steady leadership, not wrong and reckless leadership that is all over the map," said Mr Obama.
Mr Romney responded, accusing the president of allowing a "rising tide of chaos".
"I congratulate him on taking out Osama Bin Laden and taking on the leadership of al-Qaeda," said Mr Romney, "but we can't kill our way out of this. We must have a comprehensive strategy."
In one of the most scathing exchanges, Mr Obama mocked Mr Romney's complaint that the US had fewer ships now than it did during World War I.
"You mentioned the Navy, for example," said Mr Obama, "and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets than we did in 1916."
Although the debate was meant to focus on foreign policy, the two candidates repeatedly pivoted back to the fragile US economy, the issue uppermost in American voters' minds.
A CBS News snap poll declared 53% believed Mr Obama won, versus 23% for Mr Romney and 24% saying it was a draw. A CNN poll put Mr Obama as the winner by 48% to 40%. But polls on the ground in the swing states of Florida, Colorado and even Ohio show the candidates to be neck and neck.
If polls are anything to go by then the election on 6th November could deliver a nail biting finish.