President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will face off this Monday in the third and last presidential debate of the 2012 Election at 9:00 p.m. (ET) from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.
The topic is foreign policy and the debate will be moderated by Bob Schiefer, host of CBS's Face the Nation. The candidates and host will be seated at a table, the same way Vice President Joe Biden debated Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan on October 11 from Kentucky.
The stakes are high for both camps. For Obama, because Mitt Romney's stunning turnaround after his decisive victory during the first presidential debate could threaten the president's reelection chances and with them his legacy (i.e. the difference between going down history as a Clinton or a Carter). For Romney, because his dramatic shift in the race has posed the real possibility that he and Paul Ryan might indeed enter into the Oval Office. If the race suffers another jerk, this time in Obama's direction, the Republicans would feel the disappointment and humiliation of what could have been but it never materialized.
During round one, from University of Denver in Colorado, Romney soundly defeated Obama debating domestic policy. The president's lethargic and aloof performance allowed Romney to score decisive points that (re)introduced him to the broader American electorate -- a departure from the caricature the Obama campaign sought to define him as during the spring. According to CNN, Romney won the debate by a large margin. Since then, his standing in the polls has improved across states and demographics.
However, during round two, a more energetic Obama came out swinging at Romney -- who, by no means, was a shrinking violet. The candidates ignored the supposedly more intimate and personable setting of the CNN/Hofstra University town hall moderated by Candy Crowley. Romney and Obama gave as good as they received for a split decision that favored Obama in points but strengthened Romney's lead in key issues such as the economy and jobs.
That's why this Monday from Boca Raton expect both candidates to escalate their verbal attacks and aggressive demeanor. Romney and Obama will debate as if the election depends on Monday night (because it does). Like UFC fighters, the president and the governor will leave blood on the mat as they punch and counter punch in a variety of international issues from Afghanistan to Iran. The night's climax will likely be the 9/11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans -- including Ambassador Chris Stevens -- were killed. And, depending on who you ask, Romney and/or Obama walked out of last debate's stage with the upper hand on this issue as the former governor tripped over semantics (i.e. "terrorism" vs. "act of terror") not without planting the administration's inconsistencies on the attacks (including the president's "[those deaths] are not optimal gaffe) in the minds of the 50+ million voters who watched the Hofstra University duel.