Presidential Debates 2012 Schedule: Obama and Romney Last Chance to Shine


The third and final presidential debate is on October 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Hosted by Bob Schieffer, who having moderated Bush as well as Obama and McCain, is no novice to moderating debates. The final debate will focus on foreign policy. 

Romney's big turnaround after the first debate has brought a lot of attention and scrutiny to the remaining debates. Some warranted, most not. The third debate comes as a tiebreaker of sorts as Romney is seen to have won the first debate and Obama is seen to have won the second. With the election essentially a tie, both candidates will make sure they don't mess up much when they go for the opponent's jugular (which could alienate independent voters).

Since the final debate is focused on foreign policy, and if the second debate is any indication, Romney is going to continue escalating the 9/11 Benghazi attack in Libya as a failure of the administration. But Whether Romney can hammer the incident to criticize Obama for over 90 minutes is another issue entirely. The Romney/Ryan ticket is very weak on foreign policy experience and it will definitely show in this debate. Romney will use every speaking opportunity to deflect away from actual policy details of his own so as to focus on what he says are the foreign policy failures of the Obama administration.

Knowing what Romney will criticize besides the Benghazi attacks is pretty straightforward. He will say that Obama has undermined our relationship with Israel, that he is too soft on Iran, and that he depends on China. In addition, the Republican challenger will accuse Obama of wanting to cut defense, and setting a too strict of a time-line for withdrawing from Afghanistan. 

Obama, on the other hand, will press Romney for specifics the entire night (rest assured we won't hear any). If ever caught in a bind, Romney will use his fail safe and pivot toward the economy, saying how a strong nation at home is a strong nation abroad.

The race is virtually tied now, and it will continue to be tied after the debate. Unless something big happens before the debate then there won't be any big shockers. . There may be some awkward phrasing that gets labeled as a gaffe, but nothing huge. Being so close to the end of the race, and so close in the Electoral College count, both candidates will play it very safe.