On isolationism, Libya, and Rick Perry's "philosophy"
Santorum, Gingrich, Bachmann, Romney, Perry, Paul, Cain, and Huntsman stand before the start of the GOP presidential primary debate in Simi Valley / Reuters
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Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11, but last night's GOP presidential debate barely discussed America's role in the world. Debate moderators Brian Williams and John Harris apparently took to heart the Gallup polls showing that fewer than one in ten Americans name any foreign policy issue as the most important problem facing the country.
So with a minimal amount of material to work with, here are four takeaways about what the candidates said about foreign policy:
1. Candidates can mangle the facts. Debates typically feature claims that are flat wrong, and last night's debate was no exception. Michele Bachmann repeated something she has said before, namely, that President Obama is insisting that Israelis must "shrink back to their indefensible 1967 borders." What Obama actually said was that "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states." The qualifier "with mutually agreed swaps" makes all the difference. Rick Santorum believes that Obama "only went along with the Libyan mission because the United Nations told him to." Ah, no. The Obama administration pushed for UN Security Council Resolution 1973; it didn't sit around waiting for orders from Turtle Bay.