Well, this is it. On Monday, at 9 pm EST, President Obama and former Governor Romney will meet for the final presidential debate at Lynn University in Florida. The topic of this debate is foreign policy, and will be moderated by Bob Schieffer.
Obama was strong in the last debate, but he has to keep the momentum going. The president needs to be prepared to answer some tough questions on Libya, as well as queries regarding the leaked news of US-Iran nuclear talks, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Israel and Palestine, China, and perhaps even the euro zone and Greece. He’ll need to enumerate his successes and decisively state his vision for the next four years.
Romney is seen as weaker on foreign policy – neither he nor his running mate have extensive foreign policy experience (although Romney did spend a few years as a missionary in France), and his foreign tour this past year was not exactly a resounding success. He will take this opportunity, however, to hammer Obama on Libya and Israel, and he’ll probably bring up the so-called ‘apology tour’ as well.
As for me, I’m a Jewish Midwestern progressive who is a dual citizen of the United States and France (thanks, Mom!), so I hope I bring a unique perspective to covering this debate. I’d like to see Schieffer bring up some issues like international women’s rights (I think Secretary Clinton and her team have done a fantastic job on this issue) and the global gag rule, or at the very least PEPFAR, but I kinda doubt it. So join me here!
Final Presidential Debate:
Topic: Foreign policy
The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate and will focus on foreign policy.
I think you'll be able to watch the debate here:
PolicyMic will be covering the debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
FINAL UPDATE: And that's it! You'll find my closing thoughts on this debate here. Please, I implore you all - GO VOTE!
UPDATE: 10:30 PM Way to keep it on time, Bob!
These closing statements are acting as closing statements to the campaigns, not the debate specifically.
UPDATE: 10:28 PM Here is a link to Romney's op-ed on the car industry. Judge for yourself.
Romney loves teachers and Big Bird, by the way.
UPDATE: 10:26 PM 'I like American cars...I have a lot of them in my car garage. With my car elevator.'
"Governor, the people of Detroit don't forget." Dang.
Oh, and a Solyndra mention. DRINK. I don't understand how Romney will help invest in research with all of his cuts - especially if the cuts implemented are those in the Ryan plan.
UPDATE: 10:18 PM Total avoidance of the drone question...and then my feed cut out. Hooray. THANKS, C-SPAN.
OK, back up. Obama talking about China, so Romney will bring up his line that on the first day of his presidency, he will label China a currency manipulator. How will that stop China from cheating? I'm not sure. Additionally, just because Obama hasn't applied that exact label doesn't mean his Administration hasn't taken action, because it has.
UPDATE: 10:10 PM Hehehe. "Pulling out responsibly." Hehehehe.
Awkward slip-up there by Schieffer with confusing 'Obama' and 'Osama.'
Romney is talking about helping to move Pakistan to a more responsible course, but I'm wondering if that's slipping dangerously close to nation building.
UPDATE: 10:04 PM It's really not a good look to keep whining about debate rules.
Romney seems like he's...applauding the President on Afghanistan. Like these were his ideas. It's odd.
I do like that Romney brought up Pakistan. Not sure how the foreign policy community feels about conditioning aid to Pakistan on benchmarks.
UPDATE: 10:02 PM I'm not a fan of exploiting 9/11, by any person in any party, to tell you the truth.
UPDATE: 10:01 PM DEMOCRATIC, not DEMOCRAT senators. Oh my lord.
UPDATE: 9:56 PM OMG YOU SKIPPED ISRAEL. YOU BASTARD.
No. I really don't...wtf.
HAH! "If we're going to talk about trips we've taken..." The President is bringing up Yad Vashem - nice, but exploitative. But a good parry. Good digs at Romney.
UPDATE: 9:53 PM 'APOLOGY TOUR.' DRINK.
UPDATE: 9:48 PM Oh, dang, John Kerry:
Not a lot of difference between Romney and Obama's answers on Iran. Interesting that Romney wants Ahmadinejad tried in an international court - thought Republicans weren't fans of the ICC?
UPDATE: 9:47 PM
I'm kind of an Ezra Klein fangirl.
UPDATE: 9:45 PM The sequester's not going to happen, POTUS? I hope not.
HAH. "It's not a game of Battleship, where we're counting our ships." And talking about bayonets and horses? I love it.
"We've visited the website quite a bit, and it still doesn't work!" Damn. Nice rejoinder.
UPDATE: 9:41 PM Gotta agree with my dad here: the Governor's smirk when he looks at the President is a little creepy.
Balancing the budget of the federal government is completely different than a state or the Olympics. Plus, you don't have the opportunity to print money in those situations.
UPDATE: 9:39 PM 'We'll get to balancing the budget...in my second term.' I don't understand how his math works on any of this, though.
UPDATE: 9:37 PM "Let me go back to foreign policy." Thanks, Bob! But Romney is not having it.
UPDATE: 9:32 PM Something friends have pointed out on Facebook: Syria is not Iran's only path to the sea. Just FYI, Governor.
Nice strategy for the Governor to link things back to domestic economy. Should Obama have taken the bait? I'm not sure.
I thought Romney was going to say, "I've got a policy for you RIGHT HERE." And then this:
WAIT WAIT WAIT. Did Romney just say that Cheney showed great judgment (thanks, Pepis)?!?! How is that...what...what...NO. NO.
UPDATE: 9:26 PM No, honestly, I have no idea who’s winning. The President is attacking, but I don’t see a lot of difference between these two men on this. Thanks to POTUS for speaking about women in Egypt.
I'd like to know how Romney would plan to give weapons only to the "nice" Syrians. Also, why are we taking Ahmadinejad seriously?
Holy crap - first time sequestration mentioned in these debates. DRINK.
UPDATE: 9:16 PM Basically, both debaters are going to have to dumb everything down to make sure everyone understands (not saying viewers are dumb, necessarily - just that they might not be up on all the wonkish language). And of course, they're going to be relying on talking points.
Obama is just attacking attacking attacking. Dang.
UPDATE: 9:13 PM Obama is on the attack. "The 1980s are calling and asking for their foreign policy back." HAH! Oh, SLAM.
UPDATE: 9:06 PM Schieffer dives right into Libya. Nice.
Romney talking about negative consequences to the Arab Spring - listing off things makes it sound like it comes directly from his briefings. This is a pretty moderate answer, and he tries to undermine Obama's UBL killing by saying 'We can't kill our way out of this.' Romney also doesn't take the opportunity to directly attack Obama on Libya.
UPDATE: 9:01 PM Hearing all the news coverage in the background is kinda awesome.
UPDATE: 8:55 PM Does the President have his game tie on?
UPDATE: 8:37 PM I sincerely doubt that Schieffer will ask a question about foreign aid, but just in case, here are some myths about foreign aid that need to be debunked. No, foreign aid does not make up 25% of our budget. *Sigh.*
I'm sure you all are eagerly following my blog, with fingers poised over the 'refresh' icon. Another blog for which you should be doing the same thing: my friend Gabe's liveblog, also on Policy Mic. Gabe is a much more experienced and verbose blogger than I am - I just like to smirk and insert gifs, basically =).
UPDATE: 8:27 PM One thing about living on the East Coast - everything on TV starts later. 9 is SO LATE. Gah.
I'm wondering how 'game-changing' this debate could really be, due to the programming that's running against it: Game 7 of the NLCS and MNF. Of course, the narrative about the effect of the debate will really be produced by the media, so perhaps counter-programming is irrelevant.
It's been said, though, that foreign policy is really the area in which the chief executive has the most power, and that he or she is actually relatively weak when it comes to affecting (or effecting) economic policy. Many people might not consider foreign policy to be important to their choice of candidate, and may thus dismiss this debate out of hand, but maybe that's erroneous.
OK. I am going to continue to drink my Boulevard Wheat and sift through some appropriate .gifs for tonight. Let me know if you find any - as you can probably tell, I love me some .gifs.
UPDATE: 6:09 PM Hello, everyone! Hope you're getting excited for the debate. Here are a few articles to read pre-debate. There will be an exam at the end, so study up (This is a lie).
First, an incredibly important editorial from the New York Times entitled "A World of Harm for Women." This piece deals with the deleterious effects that a Romney presidency would have on the U.S.'s international efforts regarding women and international family planning, like the reinstatement of the global gag rule.
Next, a Slate piece regarding the Benghazi attack and Republican perceptions of its cause.
Finally, a fact-check piece from Yahoo! that describes the various ways the candidates may try to spin certain central foreign policy issues.
That's it! I'll be back later, after doing some homework (ugh). See you soon!