Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are squaring off Monday in Boca Raton, Florida, for a final debate, centred around foreign policy. The debate starts at 9pm EST.
President Obama is well versed in foreign policy and national security. Under his leadership there has been an expansion of drone usage against key targets worldwide, a surge in military personnel in Afghanistan, a highly symbolic operation that killed Bin-Laden, and an end to military operations in Iraq.
However, in spite of these solid credentials, he remains vulnerable to allegations over his administration’s reaction to the Benghazi and Cairo attacks.
Yet, former Governor Romney is far from a foreign policy heavyweight. His experience of the latter is almost non-existent, and his recent foreign trips have been - to put it kindly - calamitous exercises.
His tone is certainly one many Americans could envisage from a CEO, but not that of a commander-in-chief which is what this debate is centred around.
Many undecided Americans will be watching these debates with the aim of choosing a candidate to vote for on November 6th. Both will be seeking to portray themselves as the man America would want to pick up that phone at 3am. It will be a brutal, aggressive, and relentless exhibition of macho-determination, and both President Obama and Mitt Romney will be doing their upmost to showcase themselves in that light.
In short, Obama is the firm favourite to win this event. Whether it will change the presidential race, however, is anyone’s guess.
PolicyMic will be covering this debate. For live comments and analysis, book mark and refresh this page.
22:34 - And it's the end. Thank you very much for reading, and goodnight.
22:31 - Obama was consistent and measured, Romney is pandering, and overly whimsical. He attacks the President's record, and says essentially that America needs a CEO, and he;s the man for the job. This has been a definite Obama victory.
22:30 - And it's the end. Closing statements begin, with Obama starts his stump speech. He's making the choice speech. His vision is different, building on strengths, and not rewaridng 'those at the top'.
22:28 - Wrapping up. All about the economy, so not much Foreign policy. Although, Romney loves teachers.
22: 26 - This debate is very visceral and very vocal. I am sorry, it's not as much foreign policy, but foreign economic policy. So, Iran is on the margins, and Chian and the U.S. economy centrefold.
22: 25 - Economy talk, quite far away from the U.S. Foreign Policy agenda.
22: 24 - Obama counters that Romney loves China more than the U.S. - I am simplifying, but that't the thrust. Obama, on the other hand, is put at the gauanrantor of American jobs and livelihoods.
22: 22 - Romney just made a cringeworth gesture to showcase how much 'stuff' China sells every year...comapred with the U.S.
22: 18 - Obama says that China is an adversary, but a potential partner in the international community if it follows the rules. Shows he strong on trying to get China held to account for trade issues.
Romney states that Iran is the greates threat to the world. China, he believes, is the same hue as that viewed by Obama. Romney wants the U.S. to be storng when dealing with China, and the military and defiicit are key to this.
22:11 - Mitt Romeny is a firm believer in drones to solve the issue of terrorism. Right now, it seems like the candidates are warming-down. They made their points, and are now playing defense.
22:08 - Not much - to be frank - that the candidates are disagreeing on at the moment.
22:05 - Bin Laden time. Obama rides this one home. He argues that he took a risk, and that he did what was necessary to do what was necessary.
Romney is angered that he is not allowed to respond, but they move on to Afghanistan.
22:03 - Obama now posits that Romney is flip-flopping around Foreign Policy issues.
22:00 - Israel is the big issue at the moment. And Romney states of that 'rising tide of violence, chaos, and tumoult'. Its a touch repetitive.
21:57 - Romney is haranguing the President over Iran. He goes into overdrive attacking the 'foreign policy' tour.
Obama has got Romney, he talks of the trips he took compared with Romneyshambles. Obama shows impeccable knowledge of the Middle East, specifically Israel.
21:56 - Obama has used the word 'whopper' to describe the last comment by Romney about the apologist attitude he is argued to have. Goodness, this is getting ugly, as Obama brings up Romney's investments in Chinese companies.
21:55 - Romney talks of Obama's apology 'tour' and 'denouncing' the United States. Too far? I think it might be.
21: 52 - Strong wordfs from Romney, he wants to indict Ahmadinejad for Genocide incitement. Wow. The breathtaking naievty of that idea is highly interesting.
21:50 - Obama coming out strong against Iran. 'State sponsor' or terrorism, and all that. So far, so very standard.
Romney is broadly on the same page as Obama.
21:48 - Obama lands a little joke. Makes a series of patronising remarks about Romney's inability to grasp what the U.S. military is about. It's very interesting.
21: 47 - Obama says that he has a budget for the military to keep America safe, not just throwing money at them that they do not want - which alledgedly Romney would like to do. Accuses ROmney over the maths of funding this.
The Commander-in-Chief comes out here, very storngly. He looks informed, ont eh ball and very convicning.
21:46 - Time for the military quesitons. Romney is asked how he would fund the expansion of the military. He actually tells the moderator to go to the website and look at his policies. Obamacare cancellation will pay for the military expansion. Talks about the 'poor' quite glibly.
21:43 - Obama has forgone vision, in exchange for attack and for a persistent emphasis on Romney's failings. Romney interrupts the moderator, and tries to defend his record in his own state.
21:40 - Romney argues that small business need to be championed. Obama counters that Romney is not the man for this, referring to Romney's time as governor of Massachusettes, which was - he contends - fruitful for the state.
21:36 - Obama is painting Romney as 'wrong' and 'reckless'. His narrative is that Romney is dangerous. He counters that he knows how to create 12 million new jobs and more take-home pay.
Romney will get America working again, by taking America energy independent.
21:34 - America is stronger now that I have been in office. Obama nails his question on Foreign Policy, 'Our alliances have never been stronger'. Very true.
Obama then seeks to show that he is doing this foreign policy to ensure that America benefits, economically speaking.
21:32 - The old nutshell: "America's role in the world"...here Romney showcases his CEO credentials, and talks of eceonomy. After though reserved for the military. He;s trying to cover all bases here.
21:28 - Romney wishes that there had been a more planned transition. He and Obama agree on Egypt. Romney uses cliches, instead of the hard facts and ideals of Obamas. He, for example, wants a 'peaceful world' with 'princiapls of peace'. Jog on.
Oh, and he mixes up Iraq and Iran when talking. Whoops.
21:25 - Obama is asked whether he regrets over getting rid of President Mubarak in Egypt, he says no, referrencing JFK and talking about the democratically elected government in Egypt. Putting pressure on the Egyptians to tackle key problems is now the Administration's priority.
21:22 - Obama then brings this issue back to Libya, and points the success of the U.S. there. He then goes on the attack against Romney, this is constant and sustained. Obama has made his gameplan to seize Romney and showcase him as weak here. At the moment Romney ahs no answer to this, bar idignation.
21:18 - Syria is now on the agenda. Obama is asked whether policy needs to be changed towards it. Obama answers very concisely, and again in a correct way. He carefully lays out his stall on the matter, but states it is up to Syrians to decide their own future. Romney, posists that military involvement is a non-strarter. On this issue, he makes somewhat sense.
21:15 - Obama takes Romney to task over his flipflopping. This gets under Romney's skin, and Obame plays on this. He definitely is playing the Commander-in-Chief card. Amusing that everything is a tumoult of chaos in the region for Romney.
21:13 - Romney, again referencing the 'Muslim world' as if it's a defined entity, believes that civil societies will stop extremism. His speech, in repsonse to Obaama's is all over the place. Mali is a constant refrain. He's jumping from the Levant, to Saharan Africa. Obama takes Romney to task over his foreign policy of the '1980s'. This is looking like an easy victory for Obama.
21: 11 - Obama responds strongly, consistently, and very well to the question. He;s concise, brief, and informed. Romney was grasping at a grander vision, Obama is breaking his into bite-sized chunks, easily digestible and comprehensible. Even reminds him of the leadership role of the U.S. in the Libyan conflict.
21:10 EST - Romney talks about 'disturbing' events in the Middle East. It's a messy first speech, and response to the question, he's betraying his thin grasp of U.S. foreign policy here. Literally all over the place. Cringeworthy reference to the 'world of Islam'.
21:05 EST - The first question is about the Middle East, and the 'new' face of terrorism. Schieffer asks about Libya and the controversy there. Romney responds first.
21:00 EST - And they are off. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama stride into the audotirium, shake hands and make the perfunctory smiles of guests trapped in the dinner party from hell...except there are no amuses bouches here.
19:00 EST - Well, welcome to this live debate blog. My name's Will, and for those lucky enough to be reading this - welcome! Currently writing these entries from Europe, where it's damp, cold and distinctly paradoxically very late but very early in the day and hour. I'll be your guide through the barbs, and fact-checking both candiadtes as rigorously as can be expected. So tune back in at 21:00 EST.