Who Won the Presidential Debate 2012: Romney Brings a Tougher Edge to Current Policy


The third and final presidential debate will take place on Monday, October 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Having had three debates (including the vice presidential debate) to talk about everyone’s favorite subjects — the economy, Medicare, and Social Security — domestic policy will be off the table during this debate. With foreign policy, you can more or less choose your favored disaster. The Mexican government has little control over the cartels running wild, the EU is constantly on the verge of a monetary crisis, and China is quietly learning to project its power in East Asia and as far as Africa. Despite all of these problems, expect to hear primarily about Iran and Israel at this debate. The candidates will almost certainly address the recent bombing in Beirut.  

Vice President Joe Biden had an unexpected take on the Iranian nuclear crisis during the vice presidential debates. Rather than ardently defending the decisions of the administration, as he had done on the Benghazi issue, he downplayed the seriousness of the threat, insisting that economic sanctions were sufficient. What was odd was his rather dismissive tone when discussing the topic. Mood and tone mean a lot in a televised debate, and we should watch to see if the President’s treatment of the topic matches his running mate’s. 

The moderator for the last debate is Bob Schieffer, the host of Face the Nation on CBS.  There is some bad blood between Schieffer and the Romney campaign; he was unexpectedly quoted in a Romney campaign add. He later protested that he was not consulted about his inclusion and that the ad took his comments out of context.

Where to watch: Basically, pick your political leaning and then turn on the corresponding news channel. This is the event of the season, and all the major stations will be carrying it live, including C-SPAN, Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, and MSNBC. You can also watch a live stream of the debate through YouTube here.

What to follow: Feeling lost, or just longing for some like-minded ranting? Make sure to follow a couple of PolicyMic’s LIVE blogs during the debates for real time commentary, analysis, and, of course, humor. Make sure to follow you favorite pundits on Twitter as well. They just can’t help themselves from posting during something like this, and its usually either informative or vastly entertaining.

PolicyMic will be live blogging the third and final presidential debate. For real-time updates, commentary, and analysis, refresh this page and follow along below.

Update 12:30: CNN reports that each candidate has the support of 47% of voters. This is an average of 5 polls. This just got real, folks. 

Update 12:40 Tonight's moderator announced that the topics will be:

America's Role in the World Our Longest War-Afghanistan and Pakistan Red Lines-Israel and Iran The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World

Judging from these topic headings, we can expect a major focus on the Middle East (no surprise there) with an tangential look at Asia. Curiously, Syria is not on the list. Romney will have to work hard to bring that one up during the debate tonight.

Update: Romney is pulling up in the polls: the Romney campaign is even starting to send resources over to PA and NH in hopes of an upset! Jesse Merkel has all the numbers here as Romney closes in.

Update 8:15 http://t.co/cHtIhg1I 

Wise words, Mr. Kennedy

Update 8:27: Check out the Wall Street Journal for the rundown on the candidates foreign policy stances. Here's a sampling of some of the differences of policy the candidates have openly claimed: 


Obama: Has called on Assad to step down; provide non-lethal aid and training to the rebels. Backs efforts by other countries to send arms.

Romney: Wants more support for rebels; will help rebels who share U.S. values; and “ensure they obtain” arms." 


Obama: Hand over security responsibility to Afghans by the end of 2014; allow for small number of U.S. troops in the country beyond that.

Romney: Evaluate conditions on the ground and heed advice of commanders. Give Afghans responsibility in 2014, but maintain flexibility.


Obama: Tighten sanctions. Pursue negotiations. No options, including military, off the table. Will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.

Romney: Tighten sanctions. Skeptical of negotiations. Military option should be left open. Will not allow an Iranian “capability” for nuclear weapons.

Military Spending

Obama: Backed cuts in planned military spending over next decade, favors emphasis on lower cost special operations and smaller ground forces.

Romney: Supports increasing military spending, to 4% of GDP; expand Navy ship building and reverse planned cuts in the ground force.

--Quoted from blogs.wsj.com

Update 8:43: Live stream the debate here:

Update 9pm

....and we're off!

First segment, changing face of Terrorism and the challenge of the Middle East.

Leading off with Libya...can Obama defend his strategy? Can Romney successfully challenge it?

Update 9:23

The tipping point in Syria will likely come when the rebels can get effectively organized against Assad. The American role in this transition is the key

Update 9:24

The situation in Egypt doesn’t look pretty, and it looks like we are likely to lose an valuable and longstanding ally in the MidEast

With Morsi leading Egypt, a firm supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, Saad el-Katatny, is now the leader of the major Egyptian political party.

The liberal wing of the Muslim Brotherhood is all but gone.

Update 9:26: Obama was the first one to bring up Israel….

Update: 9:26, He was also the first one to try to bring a foreign policy discussion over to a domestic policy plan “nation building at home”

Update 9:28 The key to any foreign involvement is to set clear goals and pursue our interests first. Consider opportunity costs.

Update 9:31 Hope you all enjoyed the half an hour foreign policy debate. It’s back to domestic concerns now. Have a nice evening.



Update 9:36 why does Obama keep bringing up education policy like it is a safe haven for him? The education policy of the United States is dissasterous. Our taxpayers have supported an enormous increase in the educational establishments. To quote SNL "I will hire teachers...millions and millions of teachers." 



Update 9:43 Plus, China is exerting its might in East Asia as territorial disputes loom large with Japan. A new aircraft carrier is showing off china's aspirations

Update 9:45....Um, its called an alliance. Man up, folks. Give aid to your friends and harm to your enemies, right Socrates? 

Update 9:48: Iran is close to nuclear capability:

Update 9:52

Tyrannies typically are not well known for being persuaded by the interenational community and abiding by rules

The carrot for Iran in all of this is "to regain credibility" in the world. That's going to be tempting, considering their frequent expressed desire for exterminating neighbors and destroying enemies. 

Update 9:58

Obama's consistent theme in foreign policy is obtaining international cooperation to maintain consensus 

Update 9:59 

Romney was right--that was a stupid question from the moderator. Aren't there enough terrible things happening in the world without coming up with hypotheticals? 

Update 10:02 Obama is attempting to paint Romney as wishy washy and unfocused, but this is the great thing about foreign policy-you plan for everything, knowing that you can't truly predict anything.

Update 10:03 New job description for commander in chief-national psychiatrist. 

Update 10:06 The reason this debate seems lackluster to so many (open Twitter if you don't believe me) is because by and large foreign policy tends to alarm people. Neither candidate wants to say anything that could remotely be considered controversial two weeks from the election.

Update 10:10 I've gotta say it, Obama has referenced at least three emotional, anecdotal stories so far. 

Update 10:12 Romney on drone strikes "I support that entirely."

Update 10:13 Proposing more talks between Israelis and Palestinians??

Update 10:15 Quote from a friend: terrorist organizations are not countries. You can not discuss them as though they were. 

Update 10:16: Obama's strategy toward rival nations seems to be to persuade them to become our friends....its not a business negotiation.

Update 10:21 Our trade issues with China would be largely resolved if we had a balanced budget.

Update 10:25 Btw, we manipulate our own currency and subsidize companies like nobody's business. Sure, we're not as bad as China, but that doesn't mean that we aren't shooting ourselves in the foot as we throw blame on China

Update 10:30 Sorry Obama, Romney was right. He definately promised govt. guaruntees for the auto industry: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html

As the closing statements wind up, here are a couple of things we didn't cover

Europe. At all. The entire continent has fallen into the Atlantic, apparantly Mexico. Our Southern neighbor is crumbling during a widespread cartel war