Presidential debate: Middle East pays little attention; Chinese listen closely
BERLIN - The presidential candidates talked about the U.S. as the world's last superpower in their final debate, but on Tuesday the reaction in the Middle East suggested a different role for America: something of an afterthought.
President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney argued about Iran's nuclear program, their support for Israel and the American relationship with Egypt and Libya. But many citizens in those countries remained far more focused on the hefty issues that they will still be confronting no matter who occupies the White House in January.
In Egypt, attention Tuesday was on a court decision regarding the fate of its legislature, which was dissolved over the summer. Libyan leaders continued to squabble over the basics of their government even as a military assault on a rebellious town stretched into its second week. In Iran and Israel, there was little talk of a debate that spoke only glancingly of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and deemphasized differences between Obama and Romney on stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
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