Moderator Bob Schieffer has selected six foreign policy issues for the debate: “America’s role in the world,” “Afghanistan and Pakistan,” “Israel and Iran,” “The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism” (Parts I and II) and “The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World.”
In the aftermath of the September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, foreign policy has re-emerged as a critical issue in this presidential election. But while Mitt Romney is likely to criticize the Obama administration’s response to the assassination of Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, polls indicate that Americans are more concerned about the economy than national security.
Nevertheless, the worsening violence in Syria and the highly volatile scenario in the rest of the Middle East raises an essential question about America’s foreign policy: Should America intervene in violent conflicts in the rest of the world, and how? Given the current domestic economic slump, the president-elect can little afford to start another expensive war abroad. On the other hand, America’s reluctance to take direct action against President Assad is enabling him to continue to brutally slaughter thousands of civilians.
According to a recent Pew Center poll, 47% of voters favor Obama and 43% Romney on the question of who can do a better job making wise decisions about foreign policy. But will the debate reveal the same?
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UPDATE: 9:11 P.M.: Obama reminds Romney that he's never had the option to execute foreign policy.
UPDATE: 9:17 P.M.: On why the U.S. is doing nothing in Syria: Weak, Obama, weak.
UPDATE: 9:23 P.M.: "I don’t want to have our military involved in Syria... I want to replace Asad." In that case, how do you plan to remove Asad, Mr. Romney?
UPDATE: 9:34 P.M.: Romney diverts attention away from foreign policy and blames Obama from the economy. But according to Paul Krugman, the economy is actually doing better than most other advanced countries: http://nyti.ms/RhsQa3
UPDATE: 9:38 P.M.: Why are we still talking about education?!!
UPDATE: 9:40 P.M.: Romney, how are you going to expand the military AND fix the domestic economy at the same time? Thanks for asking, Bob.
UPDATE: 9:42 P.M.: In response to Romney’s whining about the navy, Obama reminds him that the nature of the military has changed: “Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets… we now have planes… the question is not a game of battleship...”
UPDATE: 9:48 P.M.: “If I’m President of the United States... WHEN I’m President of the United States…” Presumptuous much, Romney?
UPDATE: 9:55 P.M.: "The biggest whopper in this debate:" Obama responds to Romney's claim that he conducted an apology tour in the Middle East.
UPDATE: 10:00 P.M.: Romney goes off track again: “I see Jihadists beginning to spread… I look around the world and I don’t see our influence growing… because our economy is weak.”
UPDATE: 10:05 P.M.: Bob Schieffer: What do you do if the deadline arrives and it is obvious that the Afghans are unable to handle their security?
UPDATE: 10:06 P.M.: Romney wants out of Afghanistan in 2014 and wants to move Pakistan in the right direction.
UPDATE: 10:09 P.M.:
UPDATE: 10:15 P.M.: Obama wants China to play by the same rules as everyone else. Since when does China play by any rules except Mao’s?
UPDATE: 10:18 P.M.: Romney reminds us (again) that the greatest threat to America is a nuclear Iran.
UPDATE: 10:20 P.M.: Would Romney start a trade war with China on day one by declaring them a currency manipulator?
UPDATE: 10:22 P.M.: “You invested in companies that were shifting jobs overseas!”—Obama reminds Romney of his murky corporate history.
UPDATE: 10:25 P.M.: “I’m a son of Detroit… I would do nothing to hurt the U.S. auto industry.”—Romney gets sentimental and denies that he would liquidate the auto industry.
UPDATE: 10:26 P.M.: Then he gets angry: "I'm still speaking!"
UPDATE: 10:27 P.M.: As the candidates scramble through the last few minutes, they go back to kindergarten: "You're wrong." "No, you're wrong."
UPDATE: 10:29 P.M.: "I love teachers" —Romney. Scheiffer reminds us that "we all love teachers" and takes us to concluding speeches.
And it's a wrap. Check back in for post-debate coverage!