UPDATE 12:00 AM: Check back for final debate analysis here in moments. Decent debate from the candidates, but it matters more who wins in November and less who won tonight. More to follow...
UPDATE 10:32 PM: Romney: "I did not say I'd let Detroit go bankrupt." Untrue, sir. In an November 18th, 2008 Op-Ed Romney advocated for a managed bankruptcy for GM and Chrysler. The problem is, Romney failed to recognize how unstable Detroit's auto industry was.
UPDATE 10:29 PM: Romney is coming off as testy, cutting off the sitting President while he speaks.
UPDATE 10:26 PM: The NYTimes does a great job here answering the question of whether Obama went on an "apology tour."
UPDATE 10:23 PM: "How difficult will it be to 'work with China' if we label them a 'currency manipulator' on day one of your presidency, Romney?" - Moderator Bender
UPDATE 10:18 PM: Romney has struggled to tie the Benghazi incident to any pattern of Obama Administration incompetence. As I pointed out before the debate, that would be the only way he could succeed tonight, and he just hasn't done it. He got a strike after the actual consulate attack. Then he got strike two when Candy Crowley had to correct his mistaken remarks on the topic. This is his third swing. Say it with me, "strike three, Romney."
UPDATE 10:15 PM: Romney hasn't said how he will bring Israel and the Palestinians closer together. Not that Obama has succeeded there, but I don't see how Romney's intense love affair with Netanyahu will bring about peace in the region.
UPDATE 10:14 PM: Pretty much sums up Romney's foreign policy:
UPDATE 10:10 PM: Pakistan will be an enormous problem going forward for us. I don't envy either of these candidates in having to answer questions about it. Frankly, Obama didn't really answer the question here, but it has be difficult to talk about the delicate situation there for a sitting President.
UPDATE 10:04 PM: Interesting that Romney now endorses Obama-led diplomatic route to preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb. He took a much more bellicose tact on Iran in the past.
UPDATE 9:58 PM: Every President except Clinton "skipped Israel" in their first term. Obama went there even before the election ended. Obama's doing a great job showcasing what true loyalty to Israel means, not just Republican lipservice.
UPDATE 9:56 PM: Who did Obama apologize to?
UPDATE 9:54 PM: Not sure if this helps Romney or not, but according to our social media insider Syria and Russia are being discussed a lot on the interwebs.
UPDATE 9:50 PM: Obama waited patiently during the Green Revolution in Iran because he made the strategic decision that had he jumped too soon to supporting the dissidents, the Iranian regime leaders would've assumed the revolution to be a CIA ploy. Given the CIA's history with Iran, that's a very reasonable concern.
UPDATE 9:49 PM: A lot of agreement from Romney with Obama's policy decisions. Why? Because Obama took command of the political center on this issue years ago.
UPDATE 9:45 PM: We don't need as many planes in our airforce as in 1947 because we aren't in a Cold War with the Soviet Union. Seriously, did Romney hop into Bill and Ted's Excellent Time Machine??
UPDATE 9:42 PM: They need to stop weirdly staring at each other....
UPDATE 9:41 PM: Romney has some plans, but it seems like the details will have to wait until January, if ever.
UPDATE 9:40 PM: While Romney has cited Russia as a long term strategic threat, he also cited more immediate concerns.
UPDATE: 9:37 PM: Obama seems to keep bringing the foreign policy debate back to domestic economic talking points. He's not shying away.
UPDATE 9:35 PM: Obama on Romney's plan: "The 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back." BOOOOOOM!
UPDATE 9:30 PM: Romney, "Syria is Iran's route to the sea." This is why we study geography, sir!
Also, if our debt's such a big concern, why offer tax giveaways to the wealthy? That's how you run up debt! It's arithmetic.
UPDATE 9:20 PM: I can't tell if Romney's trying to go to the left of Obama on the Middle East. Obama's response is very reasonable regarding Syria. He also agrees with me and hesitates to give "heavy weapons to Syria."
Romney, if you don't want to get "drawn into" Syrian conflict, don't draw yourself in. We haven't bought into that civil war, and neither should we.
Romney is all principles, no policy.
UPDATE 9:10 PM: Romney, on whose authority do we have to dictate the terms of the Arab Spring? How much of our budget are you willing to set aside for this enormous undertaking?
Obama strikes first and Romney's response is interesting. He is right that he has a "broad" strategy. I'd say it's downright vague, too. He is willing to spend on "better education" for the Middle East but not for Americans?
Spot on, Obama, Russia isn't the threat. Is this 1962?
UPDATE 9:05 PM: Initial Impression.
I find it interesting that this is the second debate moderator that has started with the Libya topic this campaign season.
UPDATE 8:50 PM: I'm ready
UPDATE 8:30 PM: How the debate will probably go down:
UPDATE 8:20 PM: Wolf Blitzer interviews Romney pre-debate.
Romney trusts "reasonable voices" in Syria and seeks to potentially donate weapons and funds. Despite his next claim that he and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu are extremely close, he would arm possible future enemies of the Jewish State.
UPDATE 8:00: PM Fellow PolicyMic pundit Edward Williams shares his interview with Stephanie Cutter, Obama Campaign's Deputy Director.
On Monday night, Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, hosts the finale in a series of contentious debates between President Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney. Romney took advantage of a listless Obama in the first debate to storm back into the race, putting him in a virtual tie in polls for the highest office in the land. In the second debate, Obama was more prepared, weathering attacks from his opponent and turning the debate to his favor, stemming the tide of Romney popularity that was threatening to overtake his candidacy.
The debate on Monday will revolve exclusively around issues related to American foreign policy. Mitt Romney will be tasked with explaining to the American public what a Romney foreign policy agenda will look like. To this point in the campaign, he has spent most of his time attacking Obama's relatively strong record. Specifically, Romney has held Obama responsible for the fatal attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. To his credit, President Obama took responsibility for the lack of security at the consulate, which subsequently resulted in the loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens, among others.
Unfortunately, this all-important debate will be held hostage by a Republican candidate who will presumably hammer Obama on this one issue, leaving Americans asking: What would you do differently, Romney?
Romney has not been able to adequately articulate an answer to that question. On other issues, Romney has offered clues but little substance. He has come out in favor of arming Syrian militias, but that plan poses serious risks, especially to our close ally Israel and its national security. He has talked tough on the issue of Iranian nuclear development, but so has Obama. He has tried to antagonize China, but Obama has already signaled a dramatic shift by redirecting our military focus strategically towards China in an effort to contain its power. He has accused Obama of alienating long-standing allies such as Israel, but would rather see our military and foreign policy be dictated by the will of a foreign dignitary.
For Obama’s part, he has shown to be somewhat of a military hawk. His foreign policy is generally criticized from the left, which sees his Afghan War troop surge, his maintaining the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, and his incessant drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere as blights on an overall positive record in this field. He ended the war in Iraq on time, successfully orchestrated an international trade embargo with Iran which has prevented that country from reaching its goals of acquiring nuclear weapons, helped coordinate NATO aerial strikes against the maligned regime of Muammar Ghaddafi in Libya, resulting in the successful liberation of its people from the tyrannous yoke of his oppressive rule, and ordered the death of Osama bin Laden. Obama’s team has focused heavily on this latter accomplishment, a real touchdown for his reelection bid, and will probably do so again at the upcoming debate.
The Keys to the Match for Team Obama:
Obama will win the debate if he can present a comprehensive list of his foreign policy achievements while projecting an image of presidential stoicism and power.
It will not hurt if he can highlight the Romney/Ryan ticket’s complete lack of foreign policy experience.
He should avoid getting bogged down in an overly complicated dialogue on the issue of the Benghazi attack, and should not sound like a broken record when repeating what he did to Osama bin Laden.
Keys to the Match for Team Romney:
Romney will win the debate if he can convincingly steer the entire discussion towards his perception of Obama’s failures, particularly regarding the Benghazi attack.
He must avoid exposing his foreign policy inexperience.
He should keep the pressure on Obama, but do so in a way that does not make him seem temperamental.
The debate kicks off at 9 PM EST, Monday night. Rest assured PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live, so if you are watching the Monday Night Football game, check back here for live updates but be sure to bookmark and refresh this page.