Republican Mitt Romney scored a narrow victory over President Barack Obama in Monday night’s Third Presidential Debate, which focused on foreign policy. Romney won despite being more cautious than expected–avoiding confrontation on the Libya issue, for example, and emphasizing areas of agreement with Obama where possible. He had a better command of the facts, defended his positions well, and looked more presidential.

Obama was very aggressive throughout the debate–perhaps still trying to compensate for his lackluster first debate–using every single question to attack his opponent’s record and policies. That approach may have backfired, as it allowed Romney to strike a calmer, more stable posture. Romney’s apparent strategy was to give up scoring points on particular issues in favor of appealing to war-weary, politics-weary moderate voters.

But that did not mean Romney failed to fight–and fight he did, particularly on the issue of Iran, which he stressed repeatedly as the biggest threat to the U.S. and the greatest failure of the Obama administration. He also repulsed some of Obama’s attacks–when given the opportunity by a moderator who once again showed far greater favor to the incumbent–and occasionally used some of them to pivot to his favored policy points.

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