Who Won the Final Presidential Debate : CNN Poll Says Obama Won Foreign Policy Debate


Update: In the only scientific poll of debate watchers, CNN/ORC said the Obama won the debate. 48% of the registered voters voted for Obama while 40% thought Romney won. CNN is the only cable network with a scientific poll. A flash CBS poll also had Obama winning 53% to Romney’s 23%.  CNBC’s online poll had Obama winning 63% to Romney’s 33% and Public Policy Polling survey of debate watchers had Obama winning 51% to Romney’s 47%.

To read instant analysis of the debate click here


The final debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney will be held on Monday, October 22nd, 9:00PM EST at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. The 90 minute foreign policy debate will be moderated by the venerable Bob Schieffer, host of the Sunday morning talk show CBS’ Face the Nation.



Romney has made a point of avoiding the Sunday morning talk shows during the campaign so Schieffer is surely chomping at the bit at the opportunity to moderate the discussion. The conservative media will of course be none to please that once again a perceived liberal mainstream media journalist has been selected to moderate the third and final debate. The format of the debate will be the same as that of the first debate moderated by Jim Lehrer.

Schieffer and the Romney campaign have some history. Schieffer was the first to interview Romney and Ryan after Romney selected Ryan to be his running mate and this summer Schieffer strongly objected to being used in a Romney campaign attack ad.

In the second debate Romney made the biggest gaffe of the campaign when he challenged Obama on his remarks made in the White Rose Garden 24 hours after the Benghazi consulate attack in Libya. During that debate Romney insisted that Obama never mentioned that the incident was an “act of terror.” When Obama responded that Romney was not telling the truth, Romney attempted to land a “gotcha” moment that backfired when moderator Candy Crowley assumed the role of “fact-checker in real time” and agreed that the President had indeed called the incident an act of terror.

The Libyan attack is a weakness in the Obama foreign policy record that was debated effectively by VP candidate Paul Ryan in his debate against Vice President Biden, but Romney was unable to capitalize on the advantage passed to him by Ryan.

Expect Obama’s handling of Afghanistan, his questionable response to the Syrian uprising, the drone attacks in Pakistan, diplomatic relations with Egypt, the impact of the Arab Spring and his administrations relationship with Israel vis-à-vis Iran’s quest to secure and develop nuclear weapon capability to be covered extensively.

The Middle East and Northern Africa have dominated the foreign policy news cycle; however in a ninety minute debate there should be more than enough time to examine our policies in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. Obama’s foreign policy towards Africa has primarily consisted of supplying military advice, support and counter insurgency efforts via AFRICOM. He has not opened up economic opportunities for the continent as Clinton did with the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Nor has he expanded humanitarian efforts as Bush did with his President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR/Emergency Plan) program. In Asia and the South Pacific expect trade relations with China and the opportunity to partner with the growing economy in Indonesia to be tied into the discussion on foreign policy. A favorite talking point of the right has been Obama’s “whisper” to Russian Prime Minister Putin regarding the missile defense system in Eastern Europe and I would expect that Romney would take the opportunity to bring up this conservative talking point.

In the Southern Hemisphere immigration reform and the war on drugs are two issues that are tied directly to the economy and foreign policy. Brazil has the seventh largest and one of the fastest growing economies in the world but we don’t hear a lot about our relationship with the South American country. Expect at least one question on Cuban sanctions and the administration’s response to the speculation that Venezuela is supporting Middle East based terrorist organizations.

There should be plenty of opportunity to discuss policy issues including the closing of Guantanamo Bay, the NDAA, the Patriot Act, and foreign aid, the role of the UN, NATO, and defense spending.

Romney has characterized Obama’s foreign policy approach as “leading from behind” and a non-stop apology tour. Obama killed Bin Laden. Romney’s foreign policy team is dominated by the Bush neo-cons that drove us to two wars. Obama killed Bin Laden. If the last debate was any indication, expect this Monday’s debate to be filled with fireworks.

PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.

Update  9:50 Michelle Malkin chastizes Ann Coulter for "retard" tweet

Update 2:00 The debate generated 6.5 million tweets. Horses and Bayonets was the most tweeted moment of the debate

Update 1:30 Conservatives made a point of noting that Obama received 3-4 minutes of more speaking time in the 2nd debate. CNN displayed in real-time a clock that showed the speaking time for each in this debate. The CNN clock had Obama speaking time at 41:42 to Romney's 41:07

UPDATE 11:00 Who won the debate? CNN Polls says Obam 48% to Romney's 40%

UPDATE 10:30 Schieffer, "I think we all love teachers". "I leave you with the words of my mom, go vote it will make you feel big and strong"

UPDATE 10:20 China ,Obama to Romney, "You understand about jobs in China because you outsourced jobs to China. If you were in charge we'd be buying our cars from China". The hits just keep on coming. "Gov Romney you keep on trying to airbrush history"

UPDATE 10:15 Talk of the debate will be Obama horse and buggy quips.

UPDATE 10:10 Romney agrees with Obama on Pakistan.Romney just said that we can't walk away from Pakistan because weapons can fall into the hands of terrorists. But he wants to arm Syrian rebels? Doesn't he think that those weapons can also fall into terrorist hands? So no in depth discussion on drones. Pretty weak.

UPDATE 10:00 Romney is getting slammed. Lots of talking points, mostly agreeing with Obama. Romney has decided to drop the hawish policies of the neo-cons. Another example of his pandering style. Conservative twitterverse is not happy. Romney show respect for Schieffer. A new look for him.

UPDATE 9:55 Romney agrees with Obama policy on Iran. Obama says, "I'm glad you agree because there are times your policy has been to say the same thing only say it louder". Obam has his wit on full display, expect, conservatives to say ot is not presidential. Expect conservative women to say Independents were turned off my Obama tone. Romney tries apology talking point that has been refuted by fact checkers. Romney wants to indict Ahmadinejad. Is he going to take him to Hague? Indict him for what?

UPDATE 9:45How will Romney increase defense spending and balance budget? Romney says repeal Obamacare and transition Medicaid to states. Romney talks about domestic policy. The question was on defense spending. Obama brings up cyper security, and I perk up, but I alas it is gone. Romney says, "I'm proud I balance budgets. The President has not balanced a budget. Romney says Navy smallest since 1916, no duh!! Have you heard of technology, nuclear subs, US Navy larger than the next 11 naies combined. Obama, "We have fewer ships, but we have fewer horse and buggys, we have these things called aircraft carriers wher ships land, we have these things that go under water"

UPDATE 9:36 Obama brings up education, says Romney does not support hiring teachers, reducing class size. 9:36 point and Obama brings up class warfare. Schieffer gratiously allows Romney totout his education record in MA. Obama interrupting. Schieffer trying to shift back to foreign policy. Schieffer, "we have heard this in other debates"

UPDATE 9:34 Romney has mentioned two things on foreign policy that Obama hasn't responded to, the missile defense system in Poland and Eastern Europe, and developing and exapanding economic relations with Latin America

UPDATE 9:32 So now the debate is on the economy and the role of government. See first and second debate for hints. Can we get back to foreign policy. Obama slams Romney on Bush. Obama says Romney has wrong and reckless policy. "Romney praised Bush on economic policy and thought Cheney show wisdom on foreign policy". Slam.

UPDATE 9:30 On Egypt, "We have conducted experiments in nation building" Romney agrees with Obama again. So far he agreed on Syrian policy and Egyptian policy. Romney,"Once the conditions in Egypt exploded I agree with the President's opinion". Is Romney looking for a draw? A draw is a win for Romney. Aha , Romney unveils his strategy, back to the economy - talking points now, increase defense spending, cut debt and deficit

UPDATE 9:21 Romney says he would not deploy military in Syria. Says it is not necessary. But he wants to arm Syrian opposition forces.  Obama "Romney just said he doesn't have different ideas"

UPDATE 9:20 What is the over/under on how many times Obama says Commander in Chief?

UPDATE 9:11 Obama on the attack, to Romney " Governor everytime you offer an opinion you are wrong" Zinger Alert, "Governor the 1980's is calling, they want their foreign policy back" in reference to Romney citing Russia as our #1 enemy.  Romney responds, "I'm not going to wear rose-colored glasses for Putin, and I'm not going to wait until after the election to get some backbone" Obama tries to interrupt Romney, and the bickering begins, going to be a contentious debate if the first 15 minutes are any indication. 

UPDATE 8:15 CNN Fareed Zakaria in the studio tonight. Soledad O'Brien hosts focus group.

UPDATE 7:40 The single most important policy issue is foreign policy. Death, War, Taxes. That is why this debate is the most important one yet.

UPDATE 7:00 The Wall Street Journal collected a number of pre-debate tweets from conservative political pundits who are already critiquing Bob Schieffer.

Let’s see if Bob Schieffer will be able to control his liberal self in tonight’s debate   — Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow)

Sorry @realdonaldtrump, only blind, deaf, and willfully uninformed pretend @bobschieffer is neutral  — Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin)

I’m heading north on 95 in Boca. 95 south is shut 4 potus motorcade. I’m glad I’m going opposite direction than the President — Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer)

UPDATE 6:30 Mitt Romney's path to the head of the GOP ticket.

UPDATE 3:45 Bin Laden is Dead, Big Bird is Alive!

UPDATE 10:50 Romney leads Obama  in latest polls.

Romney is leading Obama by 0.3 points in the Real Clear Politics Poll. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns the vote from 47%.

UPDATE 3:30 Going into the debate Obama and Romney are in a dead heat in the polls.  Real Clear Politics has Obama with a miniscule lead of 0.2 points. Obama and Romney both get 47 percent among likely voters in the latest edition of the national NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted entirely in the aftermath of the second presidential debate last Monday.  Among the wider pool of all registered voters in this new survey, Obama is ahead of Romney by five points, 49 percent to 44 percent. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns the vote from 47%.In the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll Romney leads Obama by 3 points amongst registered voters, 49% to 46% and by seven points amongst likely voters, 52% to 45%.

UPDATE 3:00 Tehran and Washington deny plans to meet one to one on neclear weapon programs. Was this a well-staged "leak" in advance of the elections? If so, to whose advantage?

Obama's critics have accused the White House of selectively leaking flattering details about covert operations. The anti-Obama right  are furious with the White House's apparent willingness to reveal highly classified details of Obama's drone program, the Stuxnet virus aimed at derailing Iran's nuclear program, and a multi-agency collaboration to infiltrate Al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate to the New York Times and other outlets. Not to mention the virtually unfettered access the CIA and Pentagon—with White House approval—gave to filmmakers researching the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Now comes word from the NY Times that the administration secretly planned to meet with Iran over its nuclear program. Officials from both countries have denied that there are any planned meetings.

UPDATE 12:45 After the embassy attacks, conservatives intensified their efforts to ddraw parallels between Obama and former President Jimmy Carter. The right would like to see the race between Obama and Romeny be a repeat of the 1980 race between Carter and Reagan. Foreign Policy magazine said, “It's a comparison that benefits Republicans, who want to portray Obama as helpless on the economy ('Are you better off than you were four years ago?'), feckless on foreign policy (both Carter and Obama faced attacks on U.S. embassies), and politically vulnerable (Reagan surged ahead of Carter in the homestretch; the Romney campaign has its fingers crossed).”

UPDATE 12:30 If Reggie Bush can return his Heisman Trophy then Obama can return his Nobel Peace Prize.

A Time for Hope is the title of the page on the Nobel Peace Prize website announcing Obama’s selection as recipient of the 2009 award.

Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a little less than 10 months after he took up residence in the White House. Nominations for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize closed just 11 days after he took office. Never before has anyone been made a Peace Laureate so early into their term of office. Barack Obama is the fourth US President to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the last being Jimmy Carter in 2002. US Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were also Laureates while in office.

The Peace Prize states that it should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." In answer to questions during the announcement press conference about how early in Obama's Presidency the award was being made, Thorbjørn Jagland replied that the Committee wanted to demonstrate its support for the approaches he is taking towards global problems.

In selecting him, the Norwegian Nobel Committee appeared to be endorsing Obama's appeal for greater multilateral cooperation aimed at tackling the thorniest global problems; conflict, nuclear weapons, climate change. They highlight his efforts to strengthen international diplomacy, and the new climate of dialogue and negotiation that Obama is promoting. Emphasis is also placed on renewed US commitment to international organizations, in particular the United Nations. You think they may want it back?


The Obama Buck Stops Here

UPDATE 11:30 Obama's Record

Romney was quite effective in chronicling Obama's record during the last debate.


Obama may need to work on his version

UPDATE 11:00 The Obama administrtation spent weeks suggesting that the Benghazi incident was a spontaneous act of terror sparked by the release of an anti-Muslin video released on You Tube.

UPDATE 10:50  Moderator Candy Crowley cam under fire from conservative media for her role during the second debate. Many accused her of conspiring with the Obama campaign. What do you think, Candy?

UPDATE 3:30 Mitt Romney - Foreign Policy Lightweight

Slate Magazine says  “The third presidential debate is to be devoted to national security and foreign policy, which should be the most important debate if you are serious about what a president actually does in office. A president holds more personal power to shape foreign affairs than he does domestic affairs.  If that is a strong criterion for office, and I believe it is, then Romney’s penchant for putting his foot in his mouth disqualifies him from holding office.


Romney has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth on foreign policy. He insulted our biggest ally, the United Kingdom on his visit during the Olympics,

  he insulted the Palestinian people’s culture on his visit to Israel, he mistakenly called Russia our #1 global enemy even while we were engaged in three Middle Eastern wars,   he prematurely and incorrectly critiqued the administration after the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya and now he shot himself in the foot  and embarrassed himself when he lost a semantic war with Obama in the second debate. Romney’s lack of foreign policy experience was an easy target for Democrats at the DNC.

Before you debate Obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself” John Kerry "You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't attend the Olympics and avoid offending our strongest ally." Barack Obama “Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska.   Mitt Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV”. John Kerry “For Romney an overseas trip is when you trip all over yourself overseas”. John Kerry

Romney’s foreign policy team is primarily made up of the neo-cons  from the Bush administration that dragged the country into two Middle Eastern wars and resulted in President Bush having a shoe thrown at him during a press conference.

   This is not forward-thinking leadership;  Romney's saberrattling, jingoistic rhetoric will drag the country back into a war if allowed to pursue his policy. 


UPDATE 1:45  Who won the debate?

After every debate panels of experts gather to give their post-debate comments and reviews. The panels   not only include so-called political pundits, but they also include psychiatrists, psychologists, acting coaches, etiquette and personal grooming experts, and of course body language specialists.

PolicyMic pundit Amy Sterling Casil said “Science and art both have something to say about who appears ‘more presidential.’”

Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton discovered a new career, political analyst, after writing an article for New York Magazine providing advice on how Romney could learn to “act more human.” Lipton had described Romney as "that boss who makes lame jokes at which we are compelled to laugh at the peril of our jobs," but after the first debate, he said, "last night [Romney] more or less erased that image."

Who won the debate often becomes a bigger discussion topic than the issues discussed during the debates. PolicyMic pundit Barbara Kellam-Scott compared the debates to a reality TV show. She said, “My continuing frustration with win/lose evaluations of the election debates and the ever-shifting polls crashed up against another thing that's been making me shake my head; We're coming to think of the steps toward election to govern us as though they were episodes of reality-TV competitions.”

The Daily Show's John Oliver interviews a panel of experts discussing the second debate.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Experts Critique the Presidential Debate www.thedailyshow.com

UPDATE 12:45

 Huffington Post: SNL recap of the 2nd debate

UPDATE 12:30

SNL - Mitt Romney is the only reason you need to re-elect Obama to four more years.

SNL - Recap of the first debate with Jim Lehrer as moderator

The Sesame Street Super Pac - "can you tell me why Mitt would try to shut down Sesame Street (sung to the tune of the Sesame Street theme song)

UPDATE 11:40 In the second debate Romney made the biggest gaffe of the campaign when he challenged Obama on his remarks made in the White Rose Garden 24 hours after the Benghazi consulate attack in Libya. During that debate Romney insisted that Obama never mentioned that the incident was an “act of terror.” When Obama responded that Romney was not telling the truth, Romney attempted to land a “gotcha” moment that backfired when moderator Candy Crowley assumed the role of “fact-checker in real time” and agreed that the President had indeed called the incident an act of terror.

Obama “Act of terror”

Obama referred to the Benghazi attack as an “act of terror” twice in two days. The first time Obama  applied the “terror” label to the attack was in his first public statement on the events in Benghazi, delivered in the Rose Garden at the White House at 10:43 a.m. on Sept. 12. During his Rose Garden speech (full transcript here), Obama said:

“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.”

The next day, Sept. 13, in a campaign appearance in Las Vegas, he used similar language. “And we want to send a message all around the world -- anybody who would do us harm: No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America.”

UPDATE 11:15 Obama responds to critics of his foreign policy.


Obama recaps his last four years on foreign policy in this Key and Peele video

UPDATE 10:50 Thursday night Obama and Romney broke bread at the 67th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. The Huffington Post said "The event is an annual speaking opportunity for presidents or president aspirants to test their comic skills with self-deprecating jokes usually written up by clever speechwriters.Obama and Romney, facing a third and final debate Monday in Florida, sat close to each other at the dinner, separated only by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York who spoke at both the Republican and Democratic conventions in late August and early September."



UPDATE 3:30 The Obama Foreign Policy in GIFs

Obama's Mideeast Strategy


There is no daylight between America and Israel. Former Israeli Prime Minister and current  Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak said the Obama White House has been the most supportive administration throughout the two countries' diplomatic relations on matters of Israeli security. "I think that from my point of view as defense minister they are extremely good, extremely deep and profound. I can see long years, um, administrations of both sides of political aisle deeply supporting the state of Israeli and I believe that reflects a profound feeling among the American people," said Barak. "But I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing in regard to our security more than anything that I can remember in the past. In terms of the support for our security, the cooperation of our intelligence, the sharing of sorts in a very open way even when there are differences which are not simple sometimes, I've found their support for our defense very stable."

The initial response to the Arab Spring was well received.

However Egypt's democratic election of the Muslin Brotherhood to a majority position in the new government has given rise to concerns over the long-term strategic alliance with Egypt.

Critics of the President have questioned his policy on Syria. From a report in The Nation . "The Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA plans for Syria are not clear. The Syrian civil war is spilling over to our NATO ally Turkey and the Syrian leader, Assad continues to commit atrocities against his people. The United States continues to provide the opposition with communications equipment and other forms of non-lethal assistance and direct financial assistance. The State Department and Pentagon increased its support after an internationally brokered resolution faltered in the face of Russian and Chinese opposition in the United Nations Security Council. The planning is being closely coordinated with regional allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel, and it coincides with an expansion of overt and covert American and foreign assistance to Syria’s increasingly potent rebel fighters. Other countries, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are providing weapons, assisted by a small number of officers from the Central Intelligence Agency who are vetting the fighters receiving them and working with State Department officials trying to unify the fighters with political leaders inside and outside the country."


Obama ended the war in Iraq, with a coalition of nations overthrew the dictatorship of Gaddafi and after initially adding troops through the Afghan Surge, and some high profile attacks, began the withdrawl of troops from Afghanistan.

In neighboring Pakistan, the Talibam continues to launch strikes against the US military and Obama continues to pound the nation withunmanned  drone strikes. Many wonder whether the State Dept considers Pakistan  an ally or foe of the US.

 A favorite talking point of the right has been Obama’s “whisper” to Russian Prime Minister Putin regarding the missile defense system in Eastern Europe and I would expect that Romney would take the opportunity to bring up this conservative talking point.

BBC reported that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told the annual Shangri-La Dialogue conference said the US is planning to move 60% of its fleet to the Asia-Pacific region.  Panetta said "By 2020, the navy will reposture its forces from today's roughly 50-50% split between the Pacific and the Atlantic to about a 60-40 split between those oceans. That will include six aircraft carriers in this region, a majority of our cruisers, destroyers, combat ships and submarines."

Critics feel that Obama has not been out front leading on China trade policy/

Hu Jintao is the current paramount leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang Zemin as the chief of the fourth generation of leadership of the Communist Party of China. He and the President have a "special" relationship.

Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez says, in his words, "If I were American, I'd vote for Obama." Hmmn i wonder why?

Fox News was not happy!!

Obama’s foreign policy towards Africa has primarily consisted of supplying military advice, support and counter insurgency efforts via AFRICOM.

Alex B Hill says The US Africa Policy has been revealed to be a focus on mitigation of terrorist groups that seem to be gaining ground and ensuring regional security before other economic or humanitarian efforts are increased.  “The Pentagon’s shadow war in Africa,” holds nothing back to show it is there to militarily support African countries. And don't forget the oil. it is laways about the oil in the Middle East and Africa.

UPDATE 1:15 Obama and the State Depts response to the request for more security at the Benghazi consulate.

UPDATE 12:15 What is the latest news on Benghazi from the intelligence community? Today ABC News reported “Right now, there isn’t any intelligence that the attackers pre-planned their assault days or weeks in advance,” said a U.S. intelligence official.  ”The bulk of available information supports the early assessment that the attackers launched their assault opportunistically after they learned about the violence at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.”  But the official added that “no one is ruling out that some of the attackers may have aspired to attack the U.S. in Benghazi.” Want to know more: NY Times FAQ on the events surrounding the Benghazi “act of terror” controversy.

Our Fallen Heroes

Killed: Ambassador Chris Stevens, left and diplomat Sean Smith were among those killed in the attack on Benghazi

Heroic: Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods, right, and Glen Doherty, left, were also killed in the mortar attack

Benghzai, Libya in Pictures



UPDATE 11:00 Obama's adminsitration answers questions about the Benghazi incident.

UPDATE 10:00 A Profile of Romney on Foreign Policy