On Monday night, President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney will meet in the final of three debates to discuss foreign policy. The last debate was the first time Romney and Obama delved into foreign policy together, with Romney criticizing the president’s response to the recent attacks in Benghazi.
Romney has also been heavily criticized for his ventures into foreign policy, first on a somewhat embarrassing trip to England, Israel and Poland, and then after he made hasty remarks regarding the protests in Egypt and Libya before all the facts had become clear.
However, despite their respective gaffes, there seems to be little difference between the two candidates in their actual planned foreign policies. In a recent speech given at the Virginia Military Academy, Romney appeared merely to call for an intensified version of Obama’s policies. The onus is on Romney to differentiate himself from Obama, so it will be interesting to see how he goes about this tonight.
In terms of presidential power, foreign policy is one of the few areas that lies solely with the executive. Therefore, despite a relatively low public interest in foreign affairs, this is clearly the most important debate in terms of how the two candidates will be practically different from one another once in the White House.
While Obama’s foreign policy has been his least controversial domain (amongst Republicans), look for Romney to continue criticizing the president’s recent remarks on the Middle East and record on Israeli-U.S. relations. Obama will likely point out the similarity between Romney’s agenda, and bring up his gaffe-filled trip over the summer.
This debate may very well prove decisive for one of the candidates, as recent polls show they are in a dead heat with 47% each.
Final Presidential Debate:
Topic: Foreign policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Bob Schieffer (Host of Face the Nation on CBS)
Live stream here:
PolicyMic will be covering the final presidential debate in its entirety. Check back here for all the latest analysis, polls, gaffes, news, zingers, thrills and spills. Bookmark and refresh this page for the most recent updates.
10:34 pm - Final thoughts: If you've watched all three debates, you probably have seen and heard a lot of this stuff before. Some interesting talk about foreign policy, but again nothing too terribly new. They managed to cover a number of topics, but not without going back to domestic policy, which is admittedly much more popular among the electorate.
10:31 pm - Romney's closing statement: Optimistic about the future, excited about America. We will continue to promote principles of peace. Two different paths for economy: President's has given us 20 trillion dollars in debt heading towards Greece. I'll reduce the debt and get 20 million more jobs. Remove people from food stamps. We need a president who can work across the isle.
10:30 pm - Closing statements - Obama: Four years ago we had the worst recession since the Great Depression, and two wars. Romney will bring us back to these policies. Will reduce our deficit by cutting things we don't need and asking the wealthy to do more. Will maintain the strongest military in the world. After a decade of war, we have to do nation building at home.
10:28 pm - I guess I got too optimistic. We're back on jobs and the economy.
10:26 pm - Obama: "Governor Romney, you keep trying to air brush history."
10:19 pm - Wait, Romney, are you going to label China a currency manipulator on day one? No way!
10:18 pm - from heavy.com:
10:15 pm - What is the greatest national security threat to America? Obama - free trade and international trade allowing US manufacturers to act on a level playing field. Romney: A nuclear Iran and our national debt.
10:13 pm - Obama pronounces "Pakistan" correctly.
10:10 pm - Romney says our relationship with Pakistan is strained, but we should not walk away since they have nuclear bombs. He also supports the use of drones.
10:04 pm - The animosity between these two men is palpable.
10:01 pm - Obama is bringing up Romney's inconsistencies on foreign policy.
9:58 pm - The tone has begun to get quite testy.
9:57 pm - They've begun competing over who can talk up Israel more.
9:55 pm - Obama: Everything Romney just said is untrue. Specifically refering to Obama's tendency to "apologize".
9:52 pm - Obama: We have imposed sanctions with massive agreement throughout the international community. Romney: Obama's policies have emboldened the Iranian regime.
9:49 pm - Romney: I'm glad we have sanctions on Iran, but I would have imposed them earlier.
9:46 pm - Ok, we're back on FP. Obama: As long as I'm president of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. We cannot afford to see a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world.
9:44 pm - Romney says our military is "smaller" than it has been since 1917. Obama's response: Our military is different. We also have a lot few horses and bayonets.
9:43 pm - Someone watching this debate with me just noticed that on his otherwise pristine head of hair, Romney has a single strand of hair hanging over his forehead. It's quite distracting.
9:40 pm - For those of you that thought you'd be seeing something new in this debate (i.e. on our foreign policy) sorry. Obama is repeating is 5 trillion and 2 trillion dollar criticism of Romney again. Yeah we all know, the math doesn't add up.
9:37 pm - Bob Schieffer (the moderator) tried to get the topic back on foreign policy, but rejected by Romney. They're talking about education now.
9:35 pm - Somehow we've switched topics to small business and how to promote them. Makes sense, since most Americans don't really care about foreign policy anyway.
9:33 pm - Romney: JOBS JOBS JOBS I CAN CREATE JOBS!!!!
9:31 pm - Current topic is what America's role in the world should be. Romney says every single one of our allies over the past four years has become weaker.
9:30 pm - Without being prompted, "Israel" has already been mentioned at least four times. Surprising?
9:27 pm - Romney running from foreign policy and has begun criticizing Obama on the economy. "Our debt is our biggest national security threat."
9:24 pm - Obama has no regrets calling for Mubarak in Egypt to step down. Does he regret supporting Mubarak for the 3 years prior?
9:20 pm - The site is going slow, so updates will be more sporadic. Obama and Romney are talking about whether we should reassess our policy in Syria. Obama has called for caution regarding the prospect of arming the opposition, and Romney said we should, along with an international coalition, decide on groups of insurgents to arm. Neither candidate has specified which insurgents specifically should be armed. Muslim Brotherhood? Free Syrian Army? The Syrian National Council?
9:13 pm - They're going at it with a bunch of numbers and minute details that I can't imagine that many people really care about.
9:11 pm - Obama: Romney's policy is from the 1980s.
9:09 - Mitt Romney: My strategy is pretty clear: get the bad guys.
Update: 9:04 - We've started, and the two candidates are going back and forth on Libya and Al Qaeda.