Despite being the foreign policy debate, basic research, competitiveness and science and math education was added in to last night’s face off between President Obama and Governor Romney.

Obama said he wanted to hire more math and science teachers as good math and science skills have been key to maintaining the United States’ lead  in innovation.

“If we don’t have the best education system in the world, if we don’t continue to put money into research and technology that will allow us to create great businesses here in the United States, that’s how we lose the competition. And, unfortunately, Governor Romney’s budget and his proposals would not allow us to make those investments,” Obama said.  For full transcript click here.

Obama made the statement in talking about how to be competitive with China.

Romney meanwhile said, that he wants to make sure trade relations with China are more favorable to the US, noting that China is “stealing our intellectual property, our patents, our designs, our technology, hacking into our computers, counterfeiting our goods.”

Later, Obama also advocated the need for government funded basic research. “Cutting our investments in research and technology, that’s not a smart choice. That will not help us compete with China,” he said.

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