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U.S Presidential Debate Impresses Zimbabweans

In their second of three presidential debates, U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney took questions from an audience of undecided voters Tuesday night at New York's Hofstra University.

Both candidates clashed over the state of the U.S. economy, jobs, immigration and foreign affairs, including last month’s attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya that killed America's ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.

Media pundits said Mr. Obama performed much better and spoke more forcefully than he did in the first debate.

A CNN poll showed that 46 percent of voters who watched the second presidential debate said that the president won the showdown while 39 percent believed that the Republican nominee beat Mr. Obama.

The faceoff was so heated that at one point the governor seemed to question or doubt the president’s patriotism on handling the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi.

Mr. Obama said it was “offensive” that anyone would use the violence in Libya to play politics or mislead the American people.
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Ralph Black, of the USA Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told VOA the presidential debates show that America is a true democracy that Africa should learn from, especially as opponents can differ fundamentally on policy issues without resorting to violence.

The final debate is expected to focus on U.S. foreign affairs. Black said the election campaign has rarely focused on Africa.

“Some of the presidential candidates in the past didn’t know that Africa has 51 or 52 countries. They thought that Africa was just one big country called Nigeria," said Black..

“So there is a blind spot regarding Africa generally in the United States. In the absence of Libya and in the absence of Egypt, Africa wouldn’t be a continent.”
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Director McDonald Lewanika of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said his organization has started running similar public debates on the constitution-making process and hopes to expand into other areas.

But he points out the major problem stifling movement in the country is that Zimbabwe’s political culture remains based on personalities and not policies.
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