Who won the presidential debate: Obama handles Romney in his best debate performance of this year.


The end of the debate season is finally here: President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney will square off for their third and final debate on Monday October 22, at 9:00 p.m. The debate will take place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL.

With the race virtually deadlocked both nationally and in crucial battleground states, the stakes of this debate could not be higher for the candidates. This is their final opportunity to make their case to a national audience. Republicans are hoping for a repeat of the first debate in Denver, CO where Mitt Romney's performance, and President Obama's lack thereof, completely changed the race and gave Romney's floundering campaign new momentum. Democrats are hoping for a repeat of last week's debate in Long Island, NY where President Obama actually showed up and give an energized performance, managed to get under Romney's skin a little bit, and brought Democrats back from the ledge, at least for now.

This debate will center primarily on foreign policy and we should expect the ongoing fallout from the September 11, 2012 attack in Libya to dominate much of the first part of the debate. Romney has used the Libya issue to make a dent in President Obama's foreign policy strength, but has failed to deliver a knockout blow to the president on his handling of the aftermath of the attack that left four Americans, including our Ambassador Chris Stevens, dead. Romney will get another chance to hit the president on this issue on Monday night.

Unlike in 2004, this election will be decided on the economy and not on national security and foreign policy matters, so look for each candidate to tie our foreign policy and national security to our economic strength here at home. 

One other thing to pay attention to is the moderator for this debate, Bob Schieffer. Schieffer is a veteran in moderating these debates, so he clearly knows what he is doing. However, the last two debates have shown that both candidates have more or less ignored the rules and have tried to run the debate themselves. One way you will be able to tell how the debate is going is by which side hates the job Scheiffer is doing and which side says he is doing great.

These debates have been very interesting to say the least, and for the most part, have been very substantive. One can only hope that the real issues are discussed again tonight instead of the candidates arguing semantics on when the president called the attack in Libya an “act of terror” or bringing up Big Bird or “binders full of women.” 

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

UPDATE: 8:44 p.m.: You can watch the livestream of the debate here:

UPDATE: 8:52 p.m.: An undecided voter on CNN just said that she needs someone to "rock her world" in order to make a decision. Wow. That just happened.

I'm sorry, but how in the world is anybody undecided at this point? What exactly are these people waiting to hear?

8:55 p.m.: T minus five minutes

9:00 p.m.: Bob Schieffer will read the rules......that both candidates will ignore.

9:03 p.m.: Game time!

9:05 p.m.: I am trying to remember a time when the Middle East was even remotely stable. The next president to completely stabilize that region will be the first. I think we should rethink our "spread democracy" strategy we have been implementing over the last two administrations. It obviously isn't working.

9:10 p.m.: So whenever there is an attack on our interests in the Middle East it means the presidents foreign policy is unraveling? I will be sure to remember that in case one ever happens under a President Romney.

9:11 p.m: You can just tell that foreign policy is not in Romney's wheel house. He is all over the place.

9:14 p.m: Ah, the interrupting begins. This should be another fun debate. Have two candidates in recent memory hated each other this much?

9:18 p.m.: Why is being flexible in negotiations a bad thing? Thank god this guy was not president during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Could you imagine if JFK said “it is our way, or the highway”?

9:23 p.m.: We are 20 minutes in and neither of these two has tried to tie foreign policy with economic strength here at home. I am very surprised.

9:26 p.m.: Let's just cut to the chase here; Until the people there actually change their ways and stop electing Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood and Sectarian factions to high office then no president will be able to do anything substantial to stabilize the region.

9:26 p.m: And Obama finally brings it back home on the economy. The voters on the CNN graph really liked it.

9:30 p.m.: Romney is right; cutting taxes and increasing defense spending is great for the budget. Just look at all of those balanced budgets we had under Reagan. Oh, wait....

9:31 p.m: Note to Mitt Romney, even with the defense cuts the president wants, we are still spending more money on defense than the rest of the world combined.

9:34 p.m.: Our oil imports are down, governor. And Obama has signed free trade agreements with Columbia and South Korea already.

9:39 p.m: Romney's answer to how he will balance the budget: "go to my website." Wow. This guy still cannot tell us how he is going to balance the budget. Maybe because it is impossible to do so with the plan he is putting forward.

9:42 p.m.: I have said this 100 times before but where was this in Denver?! 

9:43 p.m.: Romney once again says that our Navy is smaller than it was in 1917. And once again, that is a flat out lie: http://bit.ly/zDdsKf

9:44 p.m.: The president needs to be careful here, sounds a little too condescending

9:46 p.m: A Muslim country that is a sponsor of terrorism, has weapons of mass destruction, will use them if they have a chance and is a threat to the United States and Israel. If that doesn't sound familiar it should. This is exactly what we heard in 2002 and 2003 in the lead-up to the war in Iraq. And we know how ell that went both on a military and intelligence level.

9:49 p.m.: Obama is doing very, very well right now. Clear and concise. Romney has been rambling a bit in his answers.

9:53 p.m: No direct talks with Iran? When did talking with our enemy become such a bad thing? Ask Reagan how horrible it is to talk to our enemies. That seemed to work pretty well for him.

9:53 p.m.: I want a conservative to produce one video or quote where the president has apologized for what we stand for as a country. When has Obama apologized for our military or economic power or for our values. Just give me one, not a hundred, one.

9:54 p.m.: Mitt Romney says that the United States will not lead from behind and yet he says that there will be no daylight between he and Bibi in Israel. Translation: he is going to just go along with whatever Israel wants to do. How exactly is that showing leadership, Governor? 

9:56 p.m.: Iran is resurgent due to the Iraq War that Romney supported.

9:57 p.m: Reagan never went to Israel. Bush didn't go to Israel until 2007. 

9:58 p.m.: Obama killing it with his response on Israel. Romney just walked into a trap there.

10:00 p.m.: Just keeping track of the CNN poll of undecided voters shows that women are not viewing Romney very favorably in this debate.

10:01 p.m.: The president is borrowing a page from the Bush 2004 playbook and painting his opponent at a flip-flopper that cannot be trusted.

10:04 p.m: Up until that point, neither candidate has been complaining about the rules as much as they had been in the previous two debates.

10:05 p.m.: I understand the point but it is probably not a good idea to equate your own VP with Romney (the guy you are trying to defeat) on foreign policy stances.

10:11 p.m.: FLASHBACK: The right hammered Obama in 2008 for saying he would go into Pakistan without their permission to hit terrorist targets.

10:11 p.m.: No difference between the president and Romney on the increase of drone strikes.

10:12 p.m.: Very telling that Obama continues to bring up women's rights in the Middle East. It's pretty obvious that he knows women have been moving to Romney over the last three weeks.

10:17 p.m.: Government investment does not create jobs? Maybe the governor should ask military members, policeman,  and firefighters if government creates jobs. Maybe the governor forgot how the interstate highway system was built or how we went to the moon and put a robot on Mars (NASA). Government spending on the war effort during WWII got us out of the Great Depression. What is Romney talking about?

10:25 p.m.: 10 minutes ago Romney just said that government investment was a bad thing. Now he wants to invest in research and universities?

10:27 p.m.: Fact: Romney's bankruptcy plan would not have worked due to private credit being dried up as a result of the economic collapse: http://wapo.st/R8T2ni