(Corrects day debate was held in 2nd graf, adds 3rd graf and missing quotes on LatAm in 4th and 5th grafs)
President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, squared off in their third and final debate ahead of the Nov. 6 presidential election, with the two candidates focusing on foreign policy.
Romney cited Latin America in criticizing Obama's foreign policy during the debate held Monday night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.
The Republican candidate accused Obama of failing to take advantage of opportunities for expanding trade.
"We can do better than that, particularly in Latin America. The opportunities for us in Latin America we have just not taken advantage of fully," Romney said.
"As a matter of fact, Latin America's economy is almost as big as the economy of China. We're all focused on China. Latin America is a huge opportunity for us: time zone, language opportunities," the Republican candidate said.
Romney ripped Obama for seeking dialogue with avowed opponents of the United States.
"And I say that because from the very beginning, the president, in his campaign some four years ago, said he'd meet with all the world's worst actors in his first year. He'd - he'd sit down with Chavez and - and Kim Jong-Il, with Castro and with - with President Ahmadinejad of - of Iran. And - and I think they looked and thought, well, that's an unusual honor to receive from the president of the United States," Romney said.
Obama fired back that the former Massachusetts governor was not telling the truth when he accused him of going on an "apology tour" of the Middle East.
"Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. This has been probably the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign, and every fact-checker and every reporter's looked at it. The governor has said this is not true," the president said.
The two candidates discussed a wide range of topics, including the Iranian nuclear weapons program, support for Israel and policy toward China.
"As long as I'm president of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon," Obama said.
Romney underscored his support for Israel throughout the debate.
"When I'm president of the United States, we will stand with Israel. And - and if Israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily. That's number one," Romney said.
Obama went after Romney for changing positions during the course of the campaign.
"Governor, the problem is, is that on a whole range of issues, whether it's the Middle East, whether it's Afghanistan, whether it's Iraq, whether it's now Iran, you've been all over the map," Obama said. EFE