Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

At the final presidential debate Monday night, Mitt Romney obscured his early opposition to providing taxpayer funds to rescue the auto industry before it went through a private bankruptcy process.

"I would do nothing to hurt the U.S. auto industry. My plan to get the industry on its feet when it was in real trouble was not to start writing checks," he said. "I said they need — these companies need to go through a managed bankruptcy, and in that process they can get government help and government guarantees, but they need to go through bankruptcy to get rid of excess cost and the debt burden that they'd built up. ... I said that we would provide guarantees and that was what was able to allow these companies to go through bankruptcy, to come out of bankruptcy."

"The idea that has been suggested that I would liquidate the industry -- of course not," the GOP candidate said. "That's the height of silliness."

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Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) praised Mitt Romney's performance in the final debate and criticized President Obama for mocking the GOP candidate's approach to the defense budget.

"Frankly, I don't understand why the president wants to take these kind of cheap shots -- bayonets and horses, what's that all about?" he said. "You know, when I debated then-Senator Obama I didn't criticize or belittle his lack of experience on national security issues. And he seemed to take these kind of cheap shots. ... I kind of resent it." 

"I think you should treat your opponent with some respect. ... It was small ball."

Speaking to ABC News, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan offered his take on Monday night's foreign policy debate:

“We really didn’t actually get an agenda for how we should move our country forward on foreign policy,” Ryan said. “We got sort of a defensive, you know, he tried to defend his record. It is a bad record. Turn on your TV and you can see that the Obama foreign policy is unraveling before us.”

“What Mitt Romney said, ‘here is how we can do a better job in Iran policy, here is what we should have done in all these other areas,’…and more importantly, I think [Romney] did a great job of articulating a vision for America’s role in the world. Having a strong economy, a strong America at home, a strong military and being very resolute and certain in defense of our values overseas,” Ryan told me.

Vice President Joe Biden told ABC News that he believes President Obama's performance in the foreign policy debate Monday night made up for his poor showing in the first debate.

He also went after Mitt Romney as unready for the job:

“[President Obama] clearly [has] made up for that but what Governor Romney showed today, and I felt a little badly because it’s clear he is not, he is not ready to be the commander-in-chief of the United States military,” the Vice President told me. “He demonstrated a lack of sophistication about what’s going on in the world, his rapid change in his positions. Look being president requires a clear vision and a steady hand. That’s exactly what president Obama demonstrated tonight.”

Freshman Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), appearing Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," offered his take on the foreign policy debate on behalf of President Obama.

"There was only one commander in chief on stage last night," he said. "It is too late for Governor Romney, once again, to move his positions dramatically. ... What was striking was that yet again, a completely new Governor Romney showed up last night."

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough said early Tuesday morning that President Obama relentless jabs at Mitt Romney's foreign policy during last night's debate 

"I actually think you may have seen, with the president, a man who believed his opponent was unworthy," the anchor and former Republican congressman said, speculating that Obama sought to "disqualify" Romney.

After the foreign policy debate Monday night, the New York Times editorial board published a scathing piece on Mitt Romney's performance:

Mitt Romney has nothing really coherent or substantive to say about domestic policy, but at least he can sound energetic and confident about it. On foreign policy, the subject of Monday night’s final presidential debate, he had little coherent to say and often sounded completely lost. That’s because he has no original ideas of substance on most world issues, including Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.

During the debate, on issue after issue, Mr. Romney sounded as if he had read the boldfaced headings in a briefing book — or a freshman global history textbook — and had not gone much further than that.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) published an op-ed in USA Today ahead of last night's foreign policy debate. It began:

The president's meager economic record is well known, and Americans are crying out for a change. Less appreciated, but equally important, has been the president's foreign policy record. Deeply mistaken assumptions, and an utter absence of presidential leadership have left America and its allies less safe than we were four years ago.

Mitt Romney hasn't shied away from making big promises about his potential presidency. On issues like employment, the budget, and energy, Romney's appealed to voters by vowing major improvement.

But many of these promises come with an asterisk.

Specifically, he and his campaign concede they will take two full terms to accomplish, which leaves him off the hook if he makes little progress in his first four years.

Here are his three big second-term promises:

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President Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said Monday that the president will criticize Mitt Romney on foreign policy toward China in the debate this evening.

"Even his own party is criticizing him for that because that's going to start a trade war," she said on NBC's Morning Joe, mentioning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).