President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney will clash tonight at 9:00 p.m. (ET) from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, in the third and final presidential debate moderated by Bob Schieffer (host of CBS's Face the Nation) and focused on foreign policy.
The decisive event will be broadcast live by networks C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as by cable channels CNN, Fox News and MSNBC among others.
Both the president and his Republican challenger will go toe to toe as the polls show an increasingly close race in which Romney has been able to close the gap with the president at the national level and in swing states thanks to the sudden support of crucial voting blocs such as female and independent voters.
The Republican former governor was able to tie the president after a forceful performance during the first presidential debate on October 3 where Romney challenged a lethargic and aloof Obama on his economic record, (re) introducing himself to the American electorate as a business-oriented manager with the necessary experience to accelerate the country's economic recovery.
This time, however, there won't be much talk about debt and taxes as the debate will focus primarily on foreign policy -- a topic polls say doesn't move public opinion the same way domestic issues do. Nonetheless, expect both candidates to try to exploit their respective opponent's record and stances on Iran, Libya, terrorism and national security.
Romney will say President Obama's "leading from behind" attitude has weakened America's standing and leadership in the world. He'll addressed what Republicans say is the unraveling” of Obama's foreign policy (as evidenced by the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens).
Conversely, expect the president to scold Mitt Romney for what the administration says is the former governor's shameful way of exploiting the attack in order to score "cheap political points." Obama will also pound Romney on what the president says is his rival's "unsteadiness" and "clumsiness" on the international stage (as evidenced by his recent trip to London, where he insulted the Olympic Games organizers).