Mitt Romney came across as a credible commander in chief at the final presidential debate this week, but he missed some chances to effectively criticize President Obama's foreign policy record – while the president took a "cheap shot" on the topic of military cuts, according to Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.
A member of both the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, Wilson was stunned that Romney didn't shine the spotlight on the September terrorist attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the evolving response by the Obama administration.
"I believe it was (a missed opportunity)," Wilson told WND's Greg Corombos, noting that Romney was trying to come across less antagonistic than President Obama and respect the more civil tone that Americans expect during discussions of foreign affairs. "But I believe it was very legitimate if he had raised it and pursued it to point out this cover-up, the failure to protect our ambassador and out three other personnel there."
Wilson contends the chaos in Benghazi reflects deeper problems with Obama's foreign policy.
"The American people should be concerned because this is symbolic of what I've been saying all along," he said. "By reducing the size of our military, the president is giving encouragement to people who carry signs. The signs are in English, and they say, 'Death of America,' 'Death to Israel.'"
One of President Obama's goals in the debate was to make the case that America's relationship with Israel remains strong and that he is being tough in confronting Iranian nuclear ambitions.
But Wilson isn't buying it, noting that Obama never visited Israel over the past four years and has failed to condemn incendiary comments from Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that refer to Israel as a temporary civilization.
Defense spending was also front and center in the debate as Romney vowed not to cut defense spending and blasted Obama for planning a trillion dollars' worth of cuts to the military over the next decade as a result of mandatory cuts triggered when the super committee failed to cut spending. Obama said this sequestration was not something he endorsed and promised it would not happen. He also mocked Romney for wanting to beef up the number of ships in the U.S. Navy, saying that times are changing and our forces have cut back on bayonets and horses as well.
Wilson was not amused, slamming Obama for his conduct and warning that sequestration would devastate the military.
"It was really sad that the president was taking a cheap shot," he said. "It was beneath what a president should do. The president is wrong. It is very important we have the number of ships."
Wilson noted the threats posed by piracy and the danger facing international commerce if America fails to maintain a strong Navy around the world.
"I'm very proud of the presidential standing of Gov. Romney," Wilson added. "He came across for a strong national defense. We know this works. It's called peace through strength."
Most of all, Wilson said Romney's demeanor during the debate demonstrates that he has the temperament and judgment to be commander in chief.
"Gov. Romney comes across as a person that you can place your faith and trust in," he said. "I know that he would want the best for our military personnel, military families, veterans. This is so crucial to the freedoms we have."
Wilson also lauded Romney for discussing the economy during the foreign policy debate and explaining why he believes a strong economy is the first step toward a strong American presence in the world.
The congressman predicts a Romney win in two weeks based on economic, energy and national security issues. There won't be any drama in Wilson's re-election effort. He's running unopposed in South Carolina's second district.