During last night’s presidential debate, Barak Obama and Mitt Romney duked it out on a variety of campaign issues – all of them domestic, as planned. They will increasingly turn to foreign policy in the coming two rounds, however, and it will be interesting to see how much foreign aid features in them. With voters’ minds focused on the economy, job creation, and the biggest parts of the government budget, it may remain under the radar.
Yet there’s some evidence to the contrary. In an interesting campaign choice, Romney made foreign aid the main focus of a recent speech, at the Clinton Global Initiative, and he may revisit it in his just-announced foreign policy address on October 8th.
Already he has emphasized that the combination of private enterprise and foreign aid can have a real impact:
If foreign aid can leverage [the] massive investment by private enterprise, it may exponentially expand the ability to not only care for those who suffer, but also to change lives.
Few voters are likely to give foreign aid much thought on Election Day, and there’s no way of knowing how much attention Romney would pay to the issue if elected. Still, profiling his position during the campaign implies that foreign aid is registering on the agenda.