President Obama and Governor Romney are squaring off over foreign policy and national security tonight at 9 PM Eastern Time. The candidates are meeting in Boca Raton, Florida and Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation is hosting the debate.
Although foreign policy is hardly ever a salient issue in presidential politics, uprisings throughout the world and a seemingly more unstable international community has led this debate to be greatly anticipated.
The topics covered tonight will be America’s role in the world, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Israel and Iran, the Middle East and the “new face of terrorism” (two parts!!), China, and the future. You can guarantee the economy will sneak in there more than a few times and that the national debt will be framed as an issue of national security.
Governor Romney has outdone expectations in two earlier debates, while President Obama seemingly woke up for the second and has re-leveled the debate playing field. What remains to be seen, however, is if President Obama can continue to make up ground he lost from his first poor debate performance. Given Governor Romney’s flub on the attacks in Benghazi, Libya during the last debate, one has to wonder if he will have a more nuanced, laid back approach to avoid making mistakes.
Also, watch carefully as Governor Romney continues to declare he will label China a “currency manipulator” on the first day. Similarly, look for President Obama’s explanation of a leaked story regarding bilateral talks with Iran regarding their nuclear program that the Administration quickly denounced.
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10:32pm EST: Both candidates give closing statements. Romney talks a lot about peace which seems strange from either candidate.
10:25pm EST: Obama and Romney are squaring off over the auto industry. Obama is hitting on this hard. Anyone have the link to that op-ed?
10:21pm EST: Romney sticks to his guns and says he'll label China a currency manipulator on Day 1 and Schieffer asks him if he's prepared for a trade war.
10:17pm EST: QUICK FACTS: China hasn't manipulated currency in a long time, Japan and the Swiss do it more often. Also - Japan is the largest foreign holder of our debt (or will be soon).
10:14pm EST: Obama is finally giving a nuanced answer on democracy promotion and the risk of instability. This is what America needs to hear right now - the world is a risky place, but we have to push for democracy. We might not always get what we want, but its the right thing to do and will pay off in the long run.
10:11pm EST: Will be interesting to see in this question if Obama tries to "out hawk" President Obama here on drones.
10:02pm EST: Obama brings up bin Laden. Caveat: I hate this. So much politicizing.
10:01pm EST: Romney really can seem to get no traction. Obama really is hitting hard.
9:57pm EST: Romney finally hits on Obama not going to Israel. Obama hits back even harder. Holy hell!
President Obama details his trip to Israel before the election, before he was president. This is a great answer.
9:50pm EST: Both Romney and Obama are repeating the same lines on this Iran section. Not much to see here just yet.
9:46pm EST: Schieffer tosses a softball about Iran. Let's see if Romney will hit this out of the park saying that Israel does not trust us under President Obama.
9:43pm EST: Obama says sequestration "will not happen." Governor Romney insists he won't cut a dollar from defense.
9:40pm EST: Romney doesn't talk about military in question about military. Not a good swing there.
9:32EST: Obama is winning thus far but the debate has slowed down tremendously. Both candidates keep coming back to domestic issues.
Obama is able to tie Romney to President Bush and has been able to talk about Israel - often.
Romney is doing well - showing he has breadth of the issues, but definitely shoes he is better on domestic v. foreign policy.
9:02EST: Bob Schieffer says the candidates don't know the questions, but the know the topics - here they are.
9:00pm EST: Looks like Stephanopolous and Sawyer are the opening act for Bob Schieffer. We are at Lynn University from Boca Raton, Florida.
8:00pm EST: Listening to all the talking heads on MSNBC, FOX, and CNN. Many falsehoods and useless prognosticating.