Who Won the Debate Tonight: Obama Proves His Experience, Beats Romney

On Monday, remaining undecided voters will tune in as President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will parlay for the third and final time before the 2012 election. Unlike the previous two debates, Monday’s format will focus solely on foreign policy, a topic, which has been largely neglected up to this point. The debate will begin at 9:00 EST. 

Foreign policy has been a topic widely ignored this debate season, and as a result, is an area in which both candidates need to prove or reinforce their mastery. In the last debate, President Obama successfully defended his handling of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Bengazi, while simultaneously pointing out Romney’s distortion of Obama’s communication regarding the incident. Obama has also touched on his “winding down” of the two wars in the Middle East, and modestly relied on Vice President Joe Biden to emphasize the administration’s success in targeting Osama bin Laden. 

On the other side, Romney has a lot to prove on international issues, as a former Governor with no official dealings abroad. The issue that brought him into the international spotlight was his rescue of the Salt Lake City Olympics in 1998 and could be considered his greatest achievement with foreign nations. Recently, however, Romney caused turmoil when he called London unprepared for the 2012 Summer Olympic games, which afterwards were considered widely successful.

The most interesting moments Monday may be the rebuttals. Each candidate will attempt to convince the American public the other is less qualified to represent the United States abroad. Stay tuned.

Topic: Foreign Policy

Air Time: 9:00-10:30 PM Eastern Time

Location: Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida

Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates

Participants: President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

Moderator: Bob Schieffer (Host of CBS’ Face the Nation)

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

Conclusion: 

The third and final debate fell handedly to President Barack Obama. On five of the six main talking points Romney agreed almost entirely with the President, which did not help him distinguish himself further. Romney went on the attack strongest when he could tie into economic issues, where he is clearly more comfortable. He showed an incompetency in understanding US military and it's relation to the budget and spending for the Navy and seemed reckless in his assertions about how he would pay for his proposed military spending. 

Romney noticeably changed his position on removing troops fromAfghanistan, he changed his mind on troop withdraws by 2014 being up to the generals in the field, and said that they would definitely be out by 2014. 

However, it is quite possible that Romney's campaign planned all along to simply agree with the President and try to attack him on domestic issues when possible, because that has helped him close his gap on the President and are issues where he has the greatest experience. For example, he is one of a few Republicans to hear agree with the President that the surge worked. The public widely agrees with or does not understand the Obama administration's foreign policy, so it was safe territory to agree.

Ultimately, domestic issues will decide this election as economic issues are closest to the undecided voters. Obama proved his superiority on foreign affairs, but only gained marginal ground when he attacked Romney for his indecisiveness on foreign policy, his change in opinions, and misunderstanding of military spending. 

10:35 - In sum, candidates widely agreed on all the issues, but just sparred on the small details. I usually ignore the Audience reaction bar that runs across the bottom of the screen, but during the conclusions where both candidates addressed the American people, Florida Undecided voters had Obama significantly in the positive, and Romney flatlined, and at some points dipped into the negative...

10:33 - Romney said Massachussetts governorship taught him how to get along with the 87% democratic legislature and work across the aisle. That isn't really true considering he veto'd 80% of the legislation that crossed his desk.

10:26 - This is so true should have caught this earlier: 

10:21 - I think everyone saw Obama's attack on Romney as "investing in companies who sent workers overseas to China" coming for the whole two minutes Romney was talking. Romney righty gets defensive about "attacking me is not proposing a solution"

10:18 - For those still playing the @PolicyMic drinking game Romney said protectionism which is pretty close to isolationism (5 seconds!) Regarding China and its "currency manipulation." Also Romney's hand scale to describe how much trade we do with China would have been unnecessary, even if we could have scene it on the split screen...

10:16 - Final topic is China. Interesting piece by my namesake Ezra Klein on how China manipulates it's currency: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/10/22/five-facts-you-need-to-know-about-chinas-currency-manipulation/

10:10 - Possible difference in the two candidate? Is it time to divorce Pakistan? Nuclear weapons, hmm? - Nope. Romney agreeing with Obama again? yes on drones.

10:04 - Romney is insistent on getting the last word on every topic even when it is not his turn to go last. He either doesn't agree with debate format and wants to force the moderator's hand, or perhaps he is shedding light on how assertive he would be negotiating and debating foreign dignitaries??

10:03 -  It was worth "moving heaven and earth to get Osama bin Laden." Sentimental yet firm point on what needs to be done to keep america safe and why he authorized it.

9:56 -  Who thinks Obama might have gone below the belt there talking about the companies Romney was personnally invested in!? (Chinese Oil company doing business with Iran)

9:54 - Pretty valid point on their platforms and foreign policy, candiates are pretty close together:

9:50 - Good point from a Facebook friend: "One thing Romney has right: putting more focus on Latin America"

9:47 - In case your wondering it is 7-0 Giants bot. 4th. Debate might get a few more million viewers...

9:44 - That might be the line of the night Obama: "We also have fewer horses and bayonets in the military."

9:41 Gov. Romney ignores question about how he will pay for massive increase in Military spending ($2+ billion). (Obama: "We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined!"...if true that is pretty shocking. 

9:37 Romney successful in cutting off Bob Scheffer to get a point in about education. Romney is horribly incorrect talking about Massachussetts being #1 in Education. MARYLAND has been #1 nation wide for 4+ years.

9:33 - For first time Obama tries to tie Romney to President Bush and VP Dick Cheney, but Romney choses to ignore that assertion and focus on domestic energy, latin america educational training and trade.

9:28  Romney well put on emphasizing the US national debt is a threat to our success abroad and interesting quote from President of Iran on "US debt makes them not a great nation." 

Next Segment - "what is america's role in the world" - Moderator let Romney go first when Obama should have had first work (given normal alternating debate format!)

9:23 - Legit observation on the debate split screen: 

9:20 - Romney firm on no ground military but should organize and mobilize weapons and long term friends within the Syrian resistance.

9:11 - Obama firm in highlighting that three months ago Romney called Russia a greater threat than Al Qaeda. Seems to be going on the attack.

9:05 PM First Question is actually in two parts concerning the Middle East...(confusing?... Pt one - Libya, - Romney starts out talking about many countries other than Libya and focusing on extremism and al qaeda instead. Obama focuses on Libya.

9:00 PM - Does anybody else feel like CNN is counting down to the New Years ball drop?

8:50 About 10 minutes to go until debate number three. Apparently there are still undecided voters out there! I hope they get the information they are looking for. tune into the debate here: