Who Won the Presidential Debate 2012: Obama, Who Lost? The World

The focus is foreign policy, and subject areas are expected to include America's role in the world, Afghanistan/Pakistan, Israel/Iran, Middle East/terrorism, and China.

Foreign policy has been largely absent from the election campaigns as the nation is consumed by slow economic recovery and domestic social issues. The president has a string of foreign policy achievements to brag about as well as several liabilities, while the closest thing Romney has to foreign policy experience is running the Salt Lake City Olympics and gaffing at the London Olympics.

Nonetheless, Romney has been hitting Obama hard for months on Israel, Iran, the Arab Spring and China. Get ready for heated disagreement throughout the debate, as foreign policy is an area of serious contention, both politically and ideologically.

I'll be covering the debate live with fellow journalists and millenials from Cairo, Egypt  where decisions in Washingon are often felt quit strongly. Follow this blog for critical analysis of and responses to the foreign policy debate live from the Middle East.

PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.

UPDATE:  10:35 PM Debate ends with Schieffer's encouragement to go vote. And on queue, the call to prayer begins in Cairo!

10:32 PM Twitter update


10:15 PM Obama defends his policy on AfPak, Romney struggles to draw a distinction as on so many issues.

10:05 PM Twitter update, while the candidates begin discussing AfPak


9:50 PM Israel-Iran discussion

Romney and Obama towing the party line on Israel, but Romney really got into it, going so far as saying that Iranian president Ahmadinejad should be indicted for genocide because of his rhetoric against Israel. 

9:48 PM Twitter update





9:44 PM Another Obama one-liner: Governor, we don't have muskets and bayonets anymore. Making the case for a slimmer military with "things that are called aircraft carriers where planes land." Ouch!

9:30 PM Twitter check


9:29 PM Romney: When there are elections, people tend to vote for peace. … Unless America attacks you when you vote for the wrong people.

9:28 PM Romney: we have the strongest army in the world. So why is he so concerned about military cuts?

9:26 PM Schieffer asks Romney if he would’ve stood with Mubarak. Was that Obama’s policy? I seem to remember him standing with Mubarak before he stood against him.

9:24 PM Egypt becomes a main topic. Obama defends the embassy’s response to protests last month saying, it’s not very American to run over young people in Tahrir with tanks. Yes, those would just be the authoritarian policies of the dictators we’ve supported in the region for the last 50 years.

For America to be successful in the region, America needs to be successful at home by developing economy, improving energy and education. Not the first connection to

9:23 PM Obama: Romney has nothing new to say because we’re doing exactly what we should be doing

9:22 PM Romney: I don’t want our military involved in Syria.

So, he plans on taking out an Arab leader and then not expect a lasting military role? What’s this guy thinking?

9:20 PM On Syria, Obama and Romney are arguing

9:15 PM Twitter check


9:10 PM Romney wants to "kill the bad guys" and target the leaders of Islamist extremism. Like Anwar Al Waliki? The Yemeni-American who Obama killed in Yemen with a drone attack?

Obama's first zinger of the night: The Cold War is calling to get its foreign policy back.

Obama's hitting Romney on flip flopping on what the most important national security issue is, whether troops should be boosted or pulled back in Afghanistan. Obama's come out fighting.9:10 PM Romney wants to "kill the bad guys" and target the leaders of Islamist extremism. Like Anwar Al Waliki? The Yemeni-American who Obama killed in Yemen with a drone attack?

Obama's first zinger of the night: The Cold War is calling to get its foreign policy back.

Obama's hitting Romney on flip flopping on what the most important national security issue is, whether troops should be boosted or pulled back in Afghanistan. Obama's come out fighting.

9:03 PM Candidates are out on the stage Here's a live feed:


2:45 PM David Kirkpatrick at the NY Times ran an insightful piece today from Libya about Obama and Romney's differing views on the Arab Spring. These differences should be center stage at tonight's debate.

Meanwhile, Mother Jones has a useful primer on the important foreign policy issues. Read up and get smart before the assertions start flying tonight!

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Stephen Kalin

Stephen Kalin is a researcher and freelance journalist based in Cairo. Follow him on Twitter @6thFloor_Cairo

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