Tonight's debate pits Governor Mitt Romney against President Barack Obama for the third and final time during this Presidential Campaign. Tonight the candidates will be discussing foreign policy, a topic which is less sexy to the average American than domestic policy but vitally important nonetheless.
Foreign policy is perhaps the area where the candidates differ most from one another. Both candidates will continue to support free trade capitalism, of course, but the attitude towards our neighbors could not be more different. My guess is that the term "American Exceptionalism" comes up at least once tonight.
American Exceptionalism is the crux of the argument. The Romney camp has been arguing that the President has been too apologetic in our foreign policy and that we need to be tougher on other countries, like China. They argue that America is the greatest country in the world and that we should be the example for all other nations. However, as the better traveled President Obama might be able to tell you, other countries think that they have something to offer the world order as well and might see some flaws in logic saying that America is better than them in every way.
We will see if the President is able to convey an appropriate amount of patriotism while reminding Americans that we are not the only country on earth and that we must get along with our neighbors.
The debate is scheduled to take place on October 22, Monday evening. The debate will begin at 9:00 p.m. EST. For live coverage and real-time analysis, check back on PolicyMic for everything you need to know.
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6:57pm -- The debate is about to begin. Gear up with a BBC article about how this debate will affect other countries
7:03pm -- Bob Schieffer gets the ball rolling with nuclear war!
7:04pm -- First question is about Libya: failure? Misunderstanding? Romney gets to answer first.
7:06 -- Romney: "I congratulate the President on getting Osama Bin Laden, but we can't kill our way out of this mess."
7:08 -- Obama: "Governor, your strategy has been all over the map"
7:09 -- Romney flounders slightly defending his plan. "Get the bad guys." Yes, Mitt. We know.
7:11 -- Obama comes out swinging. He calls out Romney for saying Russia was our biggest geopolitical rival and says, "The 1980s called and they want there foreign policy back." I smell a new Internet explosion.
7:14 -- Romney goes on the defensive: "Attacking me is not a policy."
7:16 -- On to Syria. Obama says we're doing everything we can but that Syria will have to determine its own future.
7:19 -- Romney calls for coordinating Syrian effort with Israel. Assad must go but he must be replaced with someone who will be friendly to the U.S.
7:20 -- Romney appears surprisingly strong on foreign affairs tonight.
7:21 -- Obama claims that the U.S. is taking a leading role in Syria. Attacking the governor for his alternate solution to Libya which would have the U.S. leading less than they did -- in the President's humble opinion.
7:22 -- Romney: "We should have taken a leading role -- not militarily" What the what does that mean?
7:24 -- Obama has no regrets calling for Mubarak to leave Egypt. That is the kind of American leadership that JFK talked about... apparently.
7:27 -- Romney: It is America's duty to lead the world towards peace. Our debt makes us not a strong country.
7:29 -- What is America's role in the world? Romney says it is our privilege to spread our values. I have some French friends who are rolling their eyes and going "peh" right now.
7:32 -- Obama: "America is the only indispensible nation." Good thing other nations don't vote!
7:33 -- Obama acknowledges need for vital economy and now we're back to the tax plan fight. Sigh.
7:33 -- Obama calls Romney's policies wrong and reckless. Romney responds with his "policy for the future."
7:34 -- Romney lists his 5 point plan again. If you don't already know it by heart. Read about it here.
7:35 -- How did we get to small business?? I thought this was a foreign policy debate...
7:37 -- Bob tries in vein to get the debate back on topic. Now we are arguing about Massachusetts education.
7:38 -- Ok we're back on topic... sorta... Romney says getting rid of Obamacare will fund his foreign policy.
Gotta love 'em.
7:40 -- Obama "Military spending has gone up every year since I've been in office." The budget ensures we are safe. Defense spending is a massive source of revenue. Thank you Obama for bringing it up!
7:42 -- Sequestration is unacceptable to Romney. I don't think it is acceptable to anyone.
7:44 -- Obama nails Romney with "We have less ships? We also have less horses and bayonets! We have these things called aircraft carriers."
7:44 -- Obama "Gov. Your budget doesn't work. We went to your website a lot. And it still doesn't work!"
7:45 -- Questions get heated. Will the U.S. declare an attack on Israel as an attack on the U.S. Obama basically says yes...
7:46 -- Shift from clear pandering to the Zionist Jewish lobby to Iran policy. This is a tough topic. Obama seems to be handling it fairly well.
7:48 -- Romney supports crippling sanctions on Iran. In fact, he wants to tighten them.
7:49 -- President Romney would see Ahmadinejad tried for genocide.
Jewish voters for the win!
7:51 -- Obama claims sanctions are not as easy to implement as they may appear.
7:52 -- Obama: "The clock is ticking before the U.S. takes all necessary actions to prevent nuclear program in Iran." Obama basically almost declared preemptive war.
7:54 -- Romney calls Obama out for "Apology Tour" in Middle East. Obama calls this the "biggest whopper" of the whole campaign. We have shown strength through mobilizing the world. Obama seems to be taking credit for the Arab Spring...
7:57 -- Romney "Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. America has freed other nations." Barf. Just barf. What a misguided interpretation of American history. Optimism is different than ignoring fact, Governor.
7:59 -- Romney blows off hypothetical question of Israel attacking Iran.
8:00 -- Ok fair point Mitt: "I don't see our influence expanding. I see it receding. In part because of our economic situation." Gotta hand it to him there. That is true, but is it necessarily so bad? Why don't we just learn to be a global team player?
8:03 -- Obama rebuts with story of providing closure for a girl who lost her father in the 9/11 attacks by killing Bin Laden. He claims that's the kind of leadership that the U.S. embodies.
One of the best moderators so far? Pretty darn good I say!
8:05 -- Romney promotes encouraging a stable relationship with Pakistan, one based on conditional aid. That sounds stable...
8:07 -- Obama: wind down the Iraq war so that we can redirect those funds at home.
8:10 -- Biggest gaffe of the night goes to Bob! Obama Bin Laden. Well, if I had a nickle...
8:11 -- Bob asks Romney his position on the use of drones. Romney says the President has been entirely right in his use. We knew there wasn't much tension on that issue.
Harsh, Ezra. Harsh, but true.
8:15 -- Obama: China can be an ally if they play by the same rules.
8:17 -- Romney would alienate business from China
8:17 -- Romney comes back with an assertion that government does not create business. He follows up saying that the biggest threat to national security is a nuclear Iran.
8:19 -- China might invade of Romney gets elected. Romney uses inflamed rhetoric against the Chinese.
8:20 -- Romney says China would not allow a trade war if labeled a currency manipulator. China can be our partner but can't roll all over us.
8:21 -- Obama slams Romney saying that he would know about outsourcing since he invested in companies that shipped jobs to China. He says further that Romney would have killed auto industry and we would be buying cars from China had we followed his advice.
8:24 -- Now we're arguing about the auto bailout. Here we go again.
8:25 -- Obama: "Governor Romney, you keep trying to airbrush history" Fact Checkers! ASSSEEMMMBBLLEEE!
8:27 -- Romney turns Obama's campaign slogan on its head! Clever clever. "I couldn't agree more about going forward. We certainly can't go back to the last four years."
8:29 -- Closing statements begin.
8:30 -- Obama closes by offering choice. But it seems like his foreign policy doesn't offer that much of a choice. Either way we might end up invading Iran!
8:32 -- Romney also offers choice, but focuses it on the economy. I'm sure the fact checkers are going to have a field day with this closing statement. The picture he paints of the next four years under Obama is ridiculous. He also calls America a torch of freedom and opportunity. He certainly is optimistic.
That concludes tonight's debate. Keep checking PolicyMic for post-debate commentary!