Tonight, Monday October 22nd, President Barack Obama will face Governor Mitt Romney at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida for the final debate before the election. The debate, which is set for 9 p.m. EST, could be very revealing of both candidates on foreign policy. Even if all that we learn is how both candidates can dance around a question.
There are several things to keep an eye out for in tonight's debate. The first will be if there will be a clear winner. Romney received the advantage in the first debate, and Obama definitely came out swinging in the second so many are viewing the third as a tiebreaker. We will also see if moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News can get a victory for the moderator and keep Obama and Romney civil and on topic.
Most likely we will also see two things. The first being a continuation of Romney attacking the President's last few years of foreign policy experience like he did in the last debate with Libya. The second will be President Obama pointing out the lack of foreign policy experience on the GOP ticket and how Romney butted heads with foreign leaders this summer.
Finally, keep an eye out for the blunder that shoots ‘round the blogosphere. The first debate had a sleeping POTUS and bye bye Big Bird. The second sent the Internet ablaze with binders full of women. Will it be Barack Obama repeatedly telling us how he killed bin Laden as Seth Meyers predicted on ‘Saturday Night Live’? Or might Romney try to place another ten thousand dollar bet that will send ‘SNL’ and ‘The Daily Show’ writers sprinting to their keyboards?
While we're waiting for the debate, a look at SNL's advice for the candidates tonight.
Less than an hour until the debate and I am beginning to wonder just what we will hear. How often will the war in Afghanistan come up? This is America's longest war but other foreign policy situations like Libya and China have been greatly discussed by the media lately.
Mitt Romney's website, mittromney.com, claims that he will not make any concrete plans on Afghanistan until inauguration day."Mitt Romney will never make national-security decisions based upon electoral politics. Upon taking office, he will review our transition to the Afghan military by holding discussions with our commanders in the field. "
President Obama's campaign website, barackobama.com, just gives his projected withdrawl date. "President Obama is drawing down our troops in Afghanistan as we transition security responsibility to the Afghan people, and is on track to responsibly end the war there in 2014."
Bob Schieffer stated that the war in Afghanistan will be one of the subjects that he brings up also on that list are America's place in the world, Red Lines with Israel and Iran, the changing middle east and the new face of terrorism and the rise of China and tomorrow's world.
Watch the debate streaming live here
In this chair at 6'1"the current defender of the title, with an American flag pin firmly on his lapel, the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama. Sitting in the opposite seat at 6'2" the former governor of Massachusetts and current GOP candidate for president with a slightly larger flag pin, Willard Mitt Romney. And our referee for this evening is Bob Schieffer, CBS News. This is the fourth debate and final night that we will see these two men together before the election on November 6th.
We open with Libya. Romney begins the debate discussing the Arab Spring and all the hope that was brought from that, that did not actually come true. "We cannot kill our way out of this mess."
Obama counters with saying that it is his job to keep America safe, that he is glad that Romney agrees with him that something needs to happen in the Middle East but his plan isn't practical.
After Romney's strong response, Obama comes back and points out that he is happy that Romney has noticed Al Qaeda because a few months ago he thought Russia was still threat.
Romney responds that Russia is a geopolitical foe. He won't wear rose-colored glasses for Russia and that attacking him won't help.
Unfortunately not.. Obama accuses Romney's policies of being like Bush. Romney responds that he is the forward thinking one with his much discussed five point plan. If you want to learn more about it, here is what his website says: http://www.mittromney.com/JobsPlan
Obama responds that Romney wants to cut rich folks like them, but he wants to hire more teachers. Leaving Mitt to talk over Bob and then Obama about how great Mass. schools are.
UPDATE 8:47 p.m.
Obama is actually the one to respond to Romney's question about how he is going to cut military spending. He says the budget is driven by what it takes to keep the American people safe.
Romney brags about how he can balance budgets and that the Navy is the smallest it has been in a long time. Obama says we also have less bayonets, this isn't exactly how the world works anymore.
Romney pulls out his "apology tour" card. Obama comes back with an emotional appeal from when he was a candidate and visited Israel. POTUS goes on to say that he has stood on the "right side of history".
Viewing this on CNN it is interesting to see that the whole time Romney was discussing hypotheticals with Israel, Florida's women seemed to disapprove much more than men on the subject.
UPDATE 9:15 p.m.
Romney is now for withdrawal in 2014? He then diverts his response to Pakistan, with 68,000 troops in Afghanistan and the death toll count having reached over 2,000 a few seconds does not seem like nearly enough.
Obama explains his point of view on Afghanistan and talks about a personal story from a medic he met.
Bob asks if it is time to divorce Pakistan? Romney shakes his head no, we need to move to a more responsible Pakistan. He says we need to do more than go after leaders and killing bad guys.
POTUS says we weren't just going after Osama, we want them to treat women equally, and that they should have free market. #westoodontheside of democracy, of the people.
UPDATE 9:29 p.m.
Did Romney really just pull the my Dad made American cars, I really like American cars again? Obama stopped his civility for that. Do swing states have a bunch of car companies or something? Oh, wait. Well at least they stayed civil till close to the end. It seems the civility ended when the conversation based on foreign policy strayed to the car company.
I think we all love teachers.
UPDATE 9:45 p.m.
In the closing statements each candidate took turns looking into the camera and trying to give their final selling points to getting America's vote. My personal favorite was Bob Schieffer's "Go vote. It makes you feel big and strong."
UPDATE 10:07 p.m.
Both candidates came to play tonight at the final debate. There was no clear victor. As the media begins to dive into the factual accuracy of each candidate, and choice soundbites which will show up on tomorrow's morning shows, we will see where the American people land. Overall both candidates made strides to show voters how they will act if their feet are in the Oval Office come January.
In other news the Bears are winning.