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Schieffer ‘surprised' Romney, Obama tried to shift debate to economy

"I was a little bit surprised … about the fact that both really did want to talk about economic issues and I kind of let them go on that," said Schieffer, the moderator of the third debate, on CBS's "This Morning." "They got into education at one point and they went on about that for a while."


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The third and final debate held in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday was intended to focus on foreign policy issues, but both candidates took opportunities to discuss domestic policy, with Obama and Romney trading jabs on the auto industry bailout, education and the economy.

Schieffer said that watching the candidates continue to pivot to the economy showed both campaigns believe that issue will decide the election and he believed those exchanges were valuable for voters.

The veteran journalist said it was "indicative of what they think the campaign ought to be about." 

"This is their campaign, and I thought people ought to have the opportunity to see what they thought it should be about," Schieffer added.

The chief Washington correspondent for CBS News and host of "Face the Nation" said he felt like he had achieved his objective during the debate to give voters a "better understanding" of Obama and his GOP challenger.

When asked if he saw a great deal of tension on the debate stage between Romney and Obama, Schieffer joked, "well, I don't think they're going to be doing a lot of cookouts together with their families after the election."

He added, however, that he believed the presidential nominees handled themselves with "great dignity this time around."

"This was spirited. The elbows were sharp, but I thought this was worthy of a debate about the presidency," he said. 

Watch the entire presidential debate from Monday night in Boca Raton, Fla.