On Monday, October 22, President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will go head-to-head in a 90-minute debate on foreign policy. Things kick off at 9:00 PM EDT from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.
It's a topic that is sure to produce fireworks. Now, more than ever before, the United States' relationships with its global neighbors — particularly those in North Africa and the Middle East — is at a critical place. Osama bin Laden is dead, the war in Iraq is over, Afghanistan is winding down, and a wave of revolution has swept across the region toppling age-old allies and autocrats. Add to that increased saber rattling between Israel and Iran, a recent uptick in anti-Americanism over an Islamophobic film, and a MidEast peace process that has stagnated into non-news.
The evening could be the make-or-break for Romney. As it stands, the race for the White House is in a dead heat, and after a poor first performance from the president, Romney seems to have the advantage. But foreign policy is a tricky area for him. He's made a series of blunderous comments about Libya and the Palestinians, and compared to Obama's four years of dealing with these issues, has no real experience on these issues. Will he be able to land the president a devastating third-round blow? Will Obama continue with his aggressive, no-holds-barred approach that won him the second debate?
Here, I'll be following the face-off live, adding my commentary and analysis as a writer and researcher of the Middle East. Of course, I'll weigh in on other areas too as they come up.
PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
UPDATE 10:30 PM That's it!
UPDATE 10:26 PM Schieffer wraps it up with this: "We all love teachers." That is what this foreign policy debate is about?
UPDATE 10:24 PM The train has official gone off the rails. Now Romney and Obama are talking about the automobile industry. REMINDER: This is a debate about FOREIGN POLICY. This is not a good way to end things.
UPDATE: 10:21 PM Okay, friends, there's 9 minutes left in the debate and my bet is that Middle East peace process does not come up. It has not been mentioned one single time in a major debate on foreign policy. This is an atrocity and the underlying reason why this issue has not been solved yet.
UPDATE 10:16 PM Romney says the greatest threat the world faces is a nuclear Iran.
UPDATE 10:14 PM Obama makes the case for standing on the side of people, immediately after making the case for drone attacks (which are possibly illegal) that kill thousands of civilians.
UPDATE 10:07 PM Obama has maintained his focus and nailed every single one of his talking points.
UPDATE 10:03 PM Again, friends, it's 10:03 PM -- 27 minutes left in this thing and NO mention of Middle East peace process.
UPDATE 10:02 PM Obama: My own vice president agreed with you on Bin Laden but I did it anyways.
UPDATE 9:59 PM Romney uses term "jihadists" AGAIN.
UPDATE 9:55 PM Romney to Obama: You skipped Israel on your world tour. Obama to Romney: You took donors and fundraisers with you to Israel. Wow.
UPDATE 9:54 PM Obama calls out Romney on sanctions. "We were implementing crippling sanctions while you were doing business deals with Chinese and Iranian companies."
UPDATE 9:51 PM Almost 1 hour into the debate and NO mention of Middle East peace.
UPDATE 9:51 PM Obama: Reports that Iran and US will sit down to talk are not true.
UPDATE 9:48 PM Both candidates emphasize support to Israel but Romney uses word "cultural support." What does that even mean?
UPDATE 9:44 PM Obama to Romney: I've been to your website. Your ideas still don't work.
UPDATE 9:37 PM Schieffer: Now let me get back to foreign policy. Romney: No. Let me talk about education in my state.
UPDATE 9:35 PM Now Obama has veered off the road. Come on people, this is a foreign policy debate. We've had 2 domestic policy debates. How did we go from America's role in the world to Latin America to small businesses to math teachers?
UPDATE 9:33 PM Romney: Latin America's economy is almost as big as economies. Says US has not taken advantage of Latin America. Then proceeds to economic discussion -- in a FOREIGN POLICY DEBATE -- about small businesses, economic reform, etc.
UPDATE 9:28 PM Schieffer asks soft ball question: "What is America's role in the world?" Where does he come up with these things? Anyone can fluff up some presidential answer about that. Let's hear some specific foreign policies.
UPDATE 9:21 PM Obama says no regrets about Egypt. America will always stand with democracy. Now let's hear Schieffer ask about the Muslim Brotherhood.
UPDATE 9:13 PM Syria. Been more than 1 year since Obama told Assad to go. Should the US reassess its policy? Obama says Syrians ultimately must decide their own future. No intervention militarily.
UPDATE 9:09 PM Romney was hit hard by Obama on his policies that are "all over the map." Romney's rhetoric is all over the map already tonight. He's mentioned Mali twice in a discussion about the Middle East (without any details on how that's in the Middle East)
UPDATE 9:04 PM Libya. What happened? Romney says US policy in Middle East in unraveling. Romney says "Egypt has a Muslim Brotherhood president" in conversation about terrorism in the Middle East.
UPDATE 9:00 PM We are underway. Here's Schieffer of CBS. Let's rumble!
UPDATE: 8:51 PM Check THIS out. News that military officials are talking about extending the Afghanistan pullout date past the 2014 deadline. I wonder what Obama and Romney will have to say about this, and whether Schieffer will bring it up at all.
UPDATE: 8:43 PM Okay folks ... things are kicking off in 15 minutes. A lot is at stake here. I'm personally hoping for a mention of Big Bird. But seriously, stay tuned here for live coverage.