Who Won the Presidential Debate: Draw as Romney and Obama Focus on Jabs Over Policy

Tonight the nation will watch as President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney spar for the final time in an effort to win over undecided voters. The third and final debate, taking place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, will focus on foreign policy and will cover six topic areas: 'America's role in the world,' 'Our longest war-Afghanistan and Pakistan,' 'Red lines: Israel and Iran,' 'The changing Middle East,' 'New face of terrorism,' and 'The rise of China and tomorrow's world."

You only need to glance at these topics to see that foreign policy in America means little more than national security. While national security is important, where's the talk of our allies in peace? I'm slightly surprised that despite the Euro zone crisis our traditional European allies do not get a direct mention in this line up. There is also the usual silence on South America, South East Asia (Japan and China aren't included here) and Africa.

As the polls become closer, this debate is sure to bring up some very sensitive issues and has potential to see some cutting words flying across the stage, but I do not think I will be surprised by anything that happens here tonight. In fact, I may just give my vote to whoever says something that is off party lines, off their prep sheet and completely genuine. (Granted as an American abroad my vote has already been mailed off they may have to wait until the next election to cash in on that prize).

Either way, let's get this final debate rolling and let the best man win (whether that means most hawkish or most intelligent or most on party lines remains to be seen).

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Third Presidential Debate Livestream:

UPDATE:

3:37 am As that timestamp [<---] shows, I need to sign off for the evening. Overall I'd say that there is no forefront winner in this debate. They were actually similarly in a lot of issues, Romney was inconsistent in his statements and Obama turned me off with his domestic policy tie-in and defensiveness. I may log on in a few hours to give a further breakdown, let me know what you think in the comments. I do want to note that my predictions (above) were largely correct--so much of foreign policy and important international issues were neglected. I'm ready for a US that actually thinks beyond national security when it thinks about foreign policy. The world does not exist for the US to siphon from. We are ONE part of a very large and interdependent world that requires cooperation and active global citizenship to prosper. Good night!

3:34 am I think Obama was definitely more on the defensive the whole time and ended in a similar way. Romney on the other hand tried to say how he'd be different and ended on that. Focusing more on himself than the President's actions.  Now Obama probably won with intellectual classes, but Romney was very charming and engaging for the average American.

3:34 am Bob's mother: GO VOTE! -- Can he be my honorary grandfather?

3:32 am Despite Romney citing his past, I'm not so sure he can work across the aisle, especially given how partisan Congress is. Each party has swung to extremes in the last four years, so I'm not so sure that (even a genuinely bi-partisan) Romeny can bring them together.

3:30 am I'm not sure that Romney's foreign policy points (as said tonight) are that much more reckless or perhaps even different than Obama. Besides the defense budget, both were surprisingly similar on Af/Pak, Iran/Israel.

3:30 am One reason I'm glad to be an American abroad this year:

3:26 Obama: Look, It will be on the Record. (Oh how living in the UK makes me miss the way he says Look since he's not on tv everyday).

3:25 am Romney: "President, investing in electric car companies is not research its investing in companies. I'm for research let's put the money in universities."Well played statement to turn a critique often made of him (private sector-owned) bad on the President.

3:23 am Romney says his attacking me does not equal talking about agenda line again.

3:22 am Obama is really pushing this clean energy thing. While great, it always comes up at completely random moments. He is talented at tying in his complete platform into his foreign policy comments. Romeny seems less so, will this make the difference?

3:21 am What else is missing:

3:21 am Romney: "China can be our partner, but they can't roll all over us." This is a good stance in order to get some votes. Generic enough for the average person to agree without thinking about what 'partner' and 'roll over us' means.

3:19 am Then he mentions that they are taking American jobs/US Intellectual property. This is not the first time he's seemed to flip flop within one statement. #currencymanipulator

3:17 am Romney starts out talking of China as a more ally than Obama did with his comments on saving American jobs from their imports. Romney:  'China wants the world/economy to be free.' This is an interesting take.

3:17 am Another tie-in to domestic policy--we need to invest in the US in order to invest in US power abroad (Obama's main point).

3:15 am The debate has been much less cutting than expected. Some zingers did fly, but not too often. #soIguessthedebatedidsurpriseme

3:14 am Interesting that Obama says attitudes about Americans have changed (though extremists will always hate). Impressed that Romney didn't try to use the anti-film riots as a counter point, but I guess that's a big bag of worms.

3:13 am Obama rightly mentions building capacity and democracy as well as his second mention of women's rights tonight.

3:11 am Romney's second mention of civil society. Has Obama mentioned it at all yet?

3:09 am Ouch! Romney only wants to keep Pakistan around because it has nukes and terrorist. This is important, but I can hear Pakistan saying now 'but Mitt you said you loved me.' Romney says he wants to help the people of Pakistan move from the course their on, but then why not mention them directly as a reason not to 'divorce' the country?

3:08 am BOOO! Obama brings Af/Pak back to domestic--'time to do nation building back home.' I can sympathize/agree on supporting veterans, but I'm more interested in your thoughts on Afghan's readiness (which was the actual question). Point to Romney on that question, he at least tried to stay on topic.

3:05 am Romney is somewhat impressing me with his dialogue on Af/Pak. "Pakistan will impact the success of what's going on in Afghanistan. We can't just brush our hands and walk away. Need to get Pakistan ready too." (paraphrase)

3:04 am Another glaring omission:

Another point of view:

3:03 am Obama's playing the 9/11, Osama card. Well he waited a lot longer than I thought.

2:58 am Just to check in--so far my predictions are largely true. Latin America got one sentence, as did trade. Energy, economy and education got some spontaneous coverage, but largely this is a debate of national security. What about actual diplomacy on issues that impact more than just the US?

2:57 am Completely do not agree with Romney's take on Obama's famous speech in Middle East. It is completely okay to say that US is not allowed to tell other countries what to do. Yes Romney we have helped many 'free themselves from dictators' but that doesn't mean we get proxy colonies.

2:56 am Obama is definitely on the defensive:

2:54 am Obama: "Bob let me just respond, Nothing Romney has said is true." Boys play nicely. You're both equally right and wrong.

2:53 am Romney: "Iran has looked at this adminstration and seen weakness where they expected to see power." BURN #apologytour-notonRomney'swatch

2:52 am Obama: "Not going to allow Iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere." Smart.

2:48 am Romney is talking peace and diplomacy with Iran. Making the already 'crippling sanctions' even 'tighter' is part of his plan. WOW! He wants to get Ahmadinejad indicted under Genocide Convention. Those are fightin' words! How did this update start with peace/diplomacy and end with that?

2:47 am OOOH Obama's smart about sending young men and women in harm's way as last resort. That may get a lot of traditionally conservative people more on your side.

2:46 am Obama: "Can't afford to have nuclear arms race in that region of the world." So you mean you can take the nuclear country to war to prevent nuclear war?

2:45 am Obama once again: "Israel is true friend and greatest ally of US."Was that written by the lobby?

2:44 am Oh man... Israel/Iran section. I actually think they may have more in common here.

2:43 am Obama: "Romney may have spent enough time looking at how our military works. It's not about horses and bayonets. We have these things called aircraft carriers and things that go underwater--nuclear submarines." This may be on the of deeper digs of the night.

2:40 am Obama getting at Romney with his military spending/cutting loopholes plan. #thenumbersdon'taddup

2:39 am Its off topic, but I have to admit, I'd be interested in seeing how states run some of these programs Romney is mentioning.

2:37 am Yes Bob! Let's get back to Foreign Policy! I'm not staying up till 3 am to hear what I've heard before.

2:34 am Romney mentions both trade and Latin America--I'm losing bets.

2:33 am And it goes to domestic policy...Which debate is this?

2:31 am Obama: "America remains the one indispensable nation. America is stronger now than when I came into office." #hubrismuch?

2:26 am Obama: Experiments in nation building have made us neglected our own economy/energy sectors and makes it harder for us to project power. (paraphrase) Obama keeps tying it back to US domestic policy.

2:24 am Obama on Egypt: "These countries can't develop if young women are not given the education they need."

2:23 am Romney: need to bring the opposition together to get on the same page (paraphrasing). Definitely agree here, opposition will not be able to succeed/stay in power if it is fragmented.

2:22 am Romney says no military involvement  to question about no fly zones. Interesting, but not sure how realistic this is long-term (if he gets in office and Syria doesn't quiet down before then).

2:19 am Romney on Syria: "Need to ensure that insurgents that become armed are the responsible parties." Insurgents as people who can be deemed 'responsible parties' is definitely a new connotation for that word.

2:18 am Both Obama and Romney say that US doesn't want military involvement in Syria and that US should work with partners there

2:17 am Obama: Syrians have to determine their own future.

2:16 am Kudos to Bob for keeping the segments rolling on time.

2:15 am First mention of Israel as 'true friend and greatest ally in region' goes to..... OBAMA!!

2:14 am I can't believe these guys can't not interrupt each other for two minutes. #totallyprofessional #LOLZ

2:13 am First mention of someone attacking someone. (Obama on Romney)

2:11 am Didn't Obama begin by saying Al Qaeda is decimated? Now he's 'glad' Romney finally sees it as the main national security issue

2:09 am Romney gets a point for mentioning civil society

2:07 am Less than 10 minutes in and US is already cast as World Savoir #hoorayobama

2:07 am Obama: "Leave Afghanistan in responsible way to make sure Afghans take care of their own security." But are they ready/equipped to do so?

2:05 am And it begins as a slight attack against Islamic countries/groups? I mean I know Romney's talking extremists here (ie. in Mali, Benghazi), but....

2:04 am Does Romney look older to anyone else?

2:02 am Oh god! Oh god! We're live. I'm super excited. Also moderator has perfect voice for this.... Also--weren't they not allowed to cheer?

2:00 am Can we get this party started? I mean I invested in a new router to make sure my internetz wouldn't die while multi-tasking and live streaming.

1:57 am I just realized this pre-debate discussion is the first time I've heard 'Benghazi' said out loud. I guess that happens when you're in the UK and you read your news. #andIsaidthisdebatewouldn'tsurpriseme

1:51 am A good example of an important foreign policy topic that won't get enough coverage tonight:

1:49 am NYTimes pre-debate (via YouTube) cites a tweet about how good foreign policy means not cringing when you tell people where you're from. HEAR THAT!

1:45 am Discussion of how social media coverage will be less due to NFL, MLB. You know foreign policy 'doesn't matter' when they don't move it to a non-NFL night.

1:43 am Where's the fun in that?

1:39 am Ouch!

1:37 am YouTube pre-debate: "Romney thinks US has abdicated its position on global stage and doesn't like to say that we are on the way down as world super power." I'm sorry you're in denial Romney, but I promise US decline in IR isn't the end of the world. In fact, it could save it (if it leads to further international cooperation).

1:35 am Will the actual debate be this funny?

1:32 am After less than an hour of pre-debate coverage and I'm getting tired of hearing about Obama's legacy: he killed Osama, ended war in Iraq, pulled back in Afghantistan, pivoted towards Asia....This may not be good foreshadowing for my ability to stay awake.

1:22 am "@rachelkleinfeld: Our reputation abroad matters. #FALive" Yes! And that means more than having others be afraid of us. What happened to diplomacy people? Soft power? The US is not the world's only power.

1:18 am So far this conversation is what I think the debate should be. We'll see what happens.

1:13 pm A man after my own heart:

1:11 am Loving this pre-debate feed:

12:44 am [All times will be in GMT, because I'll be too busy/tired/lazy to change them for you.] Starting to tune into pre-debate discussions now.  Am I supposed to recognize these two guys from HuffPo?