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Venerable CBS host Bob Schieffer is in charge of Monday's third and final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in Boca Raton, Florida. The fate of each candidate could be determined tomorrow night. No matter how professional and fair Schieffer is, someone is bound to complain.
Former Nightline anchor Ted Koppel told Politico that “the moderator represents the viewing public — 60, 65, 70 million people. They didn’t tune in to watch the candidates run roughshod over the rules campaigns agreed to.”
Jim Lehrer, moderator of the first debate, said that the aggressiveness of both candidates was "unprecedented" and caught him by surprise. This would probably have caught Barack Obama by surprise too, considering his lethargic demeanor in the first debate.
Schieffer has released the topics for the debate, which include include Israel and Iran, changes in the Arab world, the new face of terrorism, the rise of China and tomorrow’s world. He's been working on the debate for weeks, and told Palm Beach Post writer Scott Eyman he's put all of the questions and background material in a 3-inch, loose leaf . . . wait for it . . .binder. Yes, Schieffer is using a binder to prepare.
PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
Polling is getting weirder, not better, as election day approaches. A Suffolk University poll of 600 likely Ohio voters reports that the candidates are tied, 47-47%. The poll only accomplishes this by counting 120 voters who already voted, who reported they cast their ballots for Obama 54% to Romney 41%. Readers of Nate Silver's blog will love this. Except early voters for Obama in Ohio in 2008 voted by a margin of THREE to one over McCain. Among those yet to vote, who are 80% of those polled, Romney leads 48% to 45%, slightly less than the Gallup national poll average, but not far off Rasmussen battleground state poll numbers. Of those who had not yet voted, 13% said they could change their mind, and this smaller group broke three to one for Romney. Mitt Romney is three points ahead in Ohio. Mr. Obama has about 45% of the vote, which is about the share Mr. McCain got in 2008.
PPP Ohio polls showed Mr. Obama ahead of Mr. Romney by 5 points two weeks ago, with a voter survey breakdown of 40% Democrat, 36% Republican and 24% Independent. They also surveyed 53% women/47% men. Their most recent survey which reports Mr. Obama leads Mr. Romney by only 1 point, 49-48%, surveyed 54% women and 46% men, and 42% Democrat, 34% Republicans, and 23% Independent. That is a 3% oversampling of Democrats and women between 2008 election and now, and probably as much as 10% oversampling of current Democrats in Ohio. All this - to get Mr. Obama one point ahead.
Unless Mr. Romney starts singing "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran" in tonight's debate, and nobody wants to hear him sing at all, who has heard him sing . . . well . . .
Things didn't go so well for Obama campaign and La Raza (theoretically neutral) canvassers in Florida and Nevada on Saturday according to a RCP report. But of course, "all Latinos will vote for Obama . . ." (according to David Axelrod) - just like "all women," too.
Michael Reagan is sending out fundraising letters for his SuperPac that state his father was behind in all polling 2 weeks before the 1980 election against Jimmy Carter. Is this true? One poll did show Reagan ahead on October 22, 1980. However, all the other major polls did, in fact, show Reagan behind Carter, polling about 40% to Carter at 44-45%. Voters in no way "broke at the last minute" for Reagan. The polls were just lagging indicators. Reagan pulled ahead after the October 28 debate and maintained his lead. Reagan in fact won an enormous landslide that year, with over 51% of the vote and third party candidate John Anderson receiving 7% of the vote.
Latest Bidenism at speech in Greeley, CO: “He started talking about binders. Whoa. The idea he had to go and ask where a qualified woman was. He just should have come to my house. He didn’t need a binder.” He does always say what he means - why not give another nepotism job to Dr. Jill Biden?
9:02 PM EDT Debate begins with applause for candidates. Bob Schieffer gives the rules.
9:32 PM EDT President Obama has invested a lot of time in criticizing Mr. Romney, and presented idealistic successes in foreign policy. Trouble is: none of them seem to have actually occurred.
No way! Romney got in his 5 point plan, which enabled Obama to get on the education topic and the debate winner of more math teachers.
9:39 PM EDT Romney explains his programs, budget cuts and changes. President is losing his commitment to polite listening, breaking into Biden style expressions and interruptions.
Schieffer: So far, very good on time keeping and back and forth. Fair to both.
9:40 PM EDT OK, 40 minutes in, Obama needs to stop criticizing Romney and talk about his own plans! "Budget isn't driven by members of Congress, it's driven by strategy." (Hm.)
9:43 PM EDT Romney discusses his budget balancing experience in Mass. and with Olympics. Said Navy is down to 285 ships, lowest level since WWII. USAF is older and smaller since it was founded in 1947 - is this true?
FACT CHECK: Yes it the Naval information is TRUE in terms of numbers of ships. However, readiness may be better than this indicates. YES the USAF information is true as well.
9:47 PM EDT Obama on Iran - says does not want to take premature military action.
9:48 PM EDT Mr. Romney says US will stand with Israel, if Israel is attacked, US will respond. Nuclear capable Iran is a threat to America. Military action is a last resort.
9:50 PM EDT Are Obama lectures "winning"? I can't follow them. Reminds me of Victor Davis Hanson's description of eloquent students who do "D" or "F" work on tests and papers. Anyone who says "And one last thing . . ." Hmn.
9:53 PM EDT Romney correctly points out White House silence during Iran Green Revolution. Obama looks like he thinks he is very smart and has won.
9:55 PM EDT This is the Obama I know. Denies apologizing for US policy in Middle East, says Romney invests in China! Way to go, Mr. President. Good Show Sir.
9:56 PM EDT Romney - four years closer to nuclear Iran, says President went to all countries in Middle East for victory tour.
9:57 PM EDT Obama refers to "Iron Dome" programs to protect Israeli children from attack. First I have heard of these. He seemed lost during this question.
10:00 PM EDT Romney mentions letter from Democrat Senators asking Obama to repair tensions with Israel.
10:01 PM EDT Obama answers by criticizing Romney. I am not seeing this helping the few undecided voters who are not watching the football game.
He managed to change question about Israel to getting Bin Laden!! LOL!!! Decisions are not always popular. How on earth could he want to poll test getting Bin Laden?
10:12 PM EDT If there is anyone listening any longer who doesn't have to, would they really think Obama's rambling, self-justifying answer about Afghanistan filled with platitudes is a "win" (other than Benjamin)? This is an answer from someone who has been in charge of the war in Afghanistan for the past 4 years?
10:15 PM EDT Romney very strong on Pakistan answer, referring to situation on the ground, nuclear weapons and specific issues. Romney says we should use any and all technology we have throughout the world (position on drones). He also notes that we have to do more than going after leaders and killing bad guys. More effective and comprehensive strategy to move war away from terrorism and Islamic extremism.
10:19 PM EDT Obama says "this nation - ME" stood with Tunisia early on. Sounded pretty bad.
10:20 PM EDT Obama says biggest threat will continue to be terrorist networks. He says China is a potential partner internationally as long as they "play by the rules." For all of this, he has set up a trade task force. He is better than Bush Admin. with trade task force. Steelworkers throughout the Midwest are now able to sell steel to China and he also stopped cheap Chinese tires. I so wish we had strikeout font! Education system, research, technology. He's attacking Romney again.
10:23 PM EDT Mr. Romney says greatest national security threat is nuclear Iran. He says we do not have to be adversaries with China in any way, shape or for. He mentions issues China faces, such as hundreds of millions coming from farms to cities. He cites the sequestration cuts of $1 trillion or more to military as being devastating. He says countries around the world will look to America to be strong. He says he has watched year in and year out as companies have closed down because of China's currency manipulation. On day one he will label China a currency manipulator. Refers to IP theft and computer hacking, counterfeit goods. Romney references trade imbalance with China in common terms most people could understand. He refers to fake valves that a US company was repairing under warranty - but they were in fact, counterfeit from China.
10:26 PM EDT Again, Obama wastes his response to the China question by criticizing straw man Romney positions.
10:28 PM EDT Romney says "attacking me does nothing to answer the question about China." LOL! No doubt. He reminds of his heritage being born in Detroit, dad head of car company (American Motors - he made the AMC Rambler!!! I hope not the Gremlin).
10:32 PM EDT Romney Kindly Sad Dad expression as Obama repeats his talking points about "being more competitive." One thing that I'm absolutely clear about is that after a decade of drift, we have now become to make some real progress. We can't go back to the same policies . . .
Mr. Romney says he agrees about moving forward, but does not want to go back to the policies of the last four years. He knows the problems very well and repeats them.
Closing statements: Obama says "Now you have a choice . . ." The stump speech condensed.
Closing statements: Romney - wants peace and security, is excited about the future. Two different paths. With President, country will be $20 trillion in debt, heading for Greece. 20 million out of work, struggling for a new job, will create 12 million new jobs. America's going to come back, but for that to work, we have to have a President who can work across the aisle. We will work with good Democrats and good Republicans . . . have held a torch for the world to see. Now it's our team to take that torch . . . I'll lead you in an open and honest way.