Republican nominee Mitt Romney often uses Europe's fiscal woes as a cautionary tale. In the third presidential debate, in Boca Raton, he twice mentioned that out-of-control spending has the United States "headed to the road to Greece," but you would think from listening to the debates that Europe's crisis has no impact on the United States.
As both candidates know, in an increasingly interconnected financial system, U.S. markets rise and fall on the news from Brussels, and the crisis in Europe has been a drag on America's own economic recovery. Obama's Treasury Department has been putting pressure on Germany to support stimulus packages and move away from its previous commitment to austerity, though the United States has been unwilling to put its own money on the table. German Chancellor Angela Merkel nevertheless appears to have gotten the message, though perhaps only because she now sees the crisis's flames beginning to lick around the edges of her own country.
Would Romney take a different approach? Does either candidate have a contingency plan for the potential economic impact of a eurozone breakup? Do either have thoughts about how the crisis is reshaping the balance of power in the European Union or forcing member states to reduce defense budgets? From the debates, it's not quite clear.
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