Less than one week after President Obama re-energized both himself and the Democratic Party in the town hall debate, the pivotal third and final presidential debate arrives. In this debate, the focus shifts away from domestic issues to foreign policy. The format of Monday night’s debate will be identical to the first debate: six roughly fifteen minute segments on topics selected by the moderator and announced before the debate. The moderator will begin each segment with a question, with each candidate given two minutes to respond before the remainder of the time will be used for discussion of the topic presented.
Polls across the country have shown an increasingly narrow margin for the incumbent. According to Real Clear Politics, in the ten “toss-up” states, Obama leads in six of them; however, in a state such as New Hampshire, which Obama held by 9.6% four years ago, Romney holds a one point advantage, while in Michigan, a state Obama won by 16.4% in 2008, is only a 5% advantage. Another question to ask is which Obama will we see. While the format is the same as the first debate, Obama’s decisive win in the town hall debate could lead him to feeling a greater sense of urgency and enthusiasm as he prepares for this final debate.
This debate’s topic is foreign policy, which throughout his presidency has seemed to be Obama’s greatest strength. The death of Osama Bin Laden is certainly a hallmark of his presidency, and can be something that Obama hangs his hat on during this debate. Despite this, the rest of his foreign policy decisions have seemed fairly questionable at times, and if it wasn’t for Romney’s major gaffe last week concerning Libya, it would be Obama’s handling of the situation in Benghazi that would be making headlines. That situation will create an interesting dynamic as both Romney and Obama will look to capitalize on the other’s mistakes.
The moderator for the night’s proceedings is Bob Schieffer, the host of CBS’ Face the Nation. Schieffer runs the risk here of being trampled over such as Lehrer; however, his extensive experience could potentially breed deference. The debate takes place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. The location of the debate could prove vitally important as Florida provides 29 crucial electoral votes for either side. According to Real Clear Politics, Romney holds a 2.1% advantage in polling there; however, Obama could make up ground with a stellar performance in the debate.
Here are the October 22 debate details:
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)
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UPDATE: 10:38 PM - Democrats will think Obama won, Republicans will think Romney won. At the end of the day, Obama looked more confident, and Michigan will probably stay blue after people re-read Romney's op-ed.
10:35 PM - While Obama was on the offensive, this was not nearly as knock-down brawl-esque. While this debate was on foreign policy, a lot was shifted towards domestic issues.
10:33 PM - Romney's closing statement sounds like someone running for 6th grade student government.
10:29 PM - Closing statement time. These are the final 5 minutes of these two men in the same space.
10:26 PM - He may be a son of Detroit; however, he also wrote "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
10:22 PM - Obama loves calling out Romney on his investments in China. And the question is, why not.
10:20 PM - Romney calls China a "currency manipulator" for the third straight debate. When then asked about worrying about a trade war, Romney shifts topics. Typical.
10:17 PM - Obama, seamlessly shifting international issues back into domestic ones.
10:11 PM - According to Reuters, Obama is more trusted on the war on terror:
10:08 PM - Brief break from politics. Giants are up 7-0, Bears are up 10-0, and hear about both of those things as well as about tonight's debate on the Mad Cow Power Hour.
10:07 PM - This is just not a comfortable topic for Romney. At all.
10:03 PM - Intrade has Obama as a virtual lock to win this debate at this point:
10:01 PM - One hour in, Romney has been on his back heels, as well as constantly agreeing with Obama. He has agreed with Obama so much that he has gone against his party's platform.
9:55 PM - "Nothing Governor Romney just said is true." There was no apology tour. Making things up worked in Round 1, but by Round 3, Obama has learned to call out Romney on his mistruths. I guess Romney misremembered what actually happened.
9:50 PM - At just about the halfway point, Romney with about one minute more of speaking time than Obama. Take that at what you want.
9:48 PM - "I want to underscore what the President just said..." --Mitt Romney. This is a debate, not an agreement-fest
9:46 PM - Obama just took a firm stance on Israel, saying that he supports them. He then shifts the topic to Iran; however, what stands is that he said, "America will stand with Israel if they are attacked."
9:44 PM - So this is what really happened during the 2002 Olympics.
9:42 PM - Here is a quote from the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System):
"The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is designed to meet the requirements of the Education Reform Law of 1993. This law specifies that the testing program must
test all public school students in Massachusetts, including students with disabilities and English Language Learner students; measure performance based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework learning standards; report on the performance of individual students, schools, and districts.
As required by the Education Reform Law, students must pass the grade 10 tests in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics and one of the four high school Science and Technology Engineering tests as one condition of eligibility for a high school diploma (in addition to fulfilling local requirements)."
It is unfortunate for Romney that this plan that he has taken so much credit for was passed ten years before he was Governor of Massachusetts...
9:37 PM -
9:36 PM - Massachusetts was 48th out of 50 states in terms of helping small businesses. These figures seem so oddly specific, especially for a foreign policy debate.
9:35 PM - Romney has just quoted himself from the last debate, verbatim. Meanwhile, we are supposed to be talking about foreign policy, not economics.
9:33 PM - "He has praised George Bush as an economic steward" --Barack Obama. The more he can paint Romney as Bush 2.0, the more likely Obama is to win.
9:31 PM - Romney, staunchly refusing to cut the military budget. While I applaud him for sticking for an issue, for someone who was just harping on the size of the defecit, the military is one of the largest sources of that defecit.
9:30 PM - Romney is doing a lot of agreeing with Obama. That typically is not a winning formula.
9:26 PM - Obama, roping in the need for education for women abroad as a sticking point. As he watches his lead amongst female voters dwindle, he needs to show that he really knows and cares about the rights of women, not only domestically but internationally as well.
9:23 PM - Kind of like in the vice presidential debate, Romney looks as if he is reading off note cards, Obama looks as if he has lived through this and is speaking from first-hand experience.
9:19 PM - "Russia is our biggest geopolitical foe." --Mitt Romney. Watch it below:
9:16 PM - They are interrupting each other a lot. On another note, Kyle Lohse has been pulled from the game after only 2+ innings.
9:12 PM - Obama hops on the offensive, calls Romney out on the fact that he previously said Russia was the biggest geopolitical threat to our country, and then calls him out for never being in a position to execute foreign policy decisions. One point Obama.
9:10 PM - Obama just said, "Governor, your strategy is all over the map and it won't keep Americans safe." I guess Obama has seen Romney's plan, it is too bad that no one else has.
9:08 PM - "My first job as commander in chief is to keep the American people safe, and that's what we've done over the last 4 years." --Barack Obama. Romney's biggest foreign policy attempt was telling the British that they are doing the Olympics all wrong.
9:06 PM - Interesting that Romney would bring up Osama Bin Laden before Obama. I wonder if that was a tactic to attempt to negate that advantage.
9:04 PM - First question is on Libya. Let's see how Romney can bounce back from his stuttering outburst last week.
9:00 PM - Just about go time, let's see how tonight goes
8:58 PM - Here are just a few of Mitt Romney's foreign policy mistakes to date.
8:51 PM - 10 minutes to showtime. The Bears are winning 7-0, and the San Francisco Giants are up 1-0. Expect updates on both of those games as well as the debate.
8:31 PM - While we are at it, let us look back at one of the biggest gaffes of the debates thus far, as Mitt Romney attempts to respond to President Obama's comments on the situation in Benghazi:
8:26 PM - Before tonight's debate creates some commerical worthy moment's on its own, let us look back at some of the best Presidential Debate moments:
8:25 PM - We are live with you, providing the most thoughtful insight on the web (or at least that's the goal). Stay tuned right here for constant updates on the highs, lows, and everything in between. Thus far, we have had a pair of interesting debates, and only time will tell as to how tonight will fare for both candidates.