Final Presidential Debate: Obama vs Romney on Foreign Policy, Live Updates and Analysis


10:36 - That was....well what *was* that, really? Uneventful, talking points were rehashed, and it wasn't very engaging at all. This won't move the numbers, which is bad for Obama but good for Romney. We've started a discussion here in the viewing room and topic #1 is drones. Just a reminder that the political priorities of this generation aren't really reflected by either campaign. A decent, but disappointing debate.

10:31 - Romney: "I'm optimistic about the future."

    A friend: "Good to know."

We were just talking about defense spending. This chart breaks the numbers down (FacetheFacts USA)

10:30 - How is Schieffer letting them get away with talking about domestic policy?! There's a whole world out there for chrissakes. Foreign audiences are probably appalled.

10:28 - The crowd here at the UChicago is bored and disdainful. "Swing states" someone says about Romney's mentions of the people he's met. "I like teachers" gets laughs.

10:26 - Obama really could be doing better than this. Romney's points are long and meandering, but he's putting a lot of things in there that Obama doesn't seem to be responding to in fresh ways.

10:24 - Clashing on Detroit again. Pointless. Meanwhile, no serious response about drones, and no climate change. Kind of appalling.

10:19 - Honestly, at this point, I don't think Mitt Romney can make America as "strong" as he's been claiming througout this debate without having the govt. hand out anabolic steroids in the streets.

10:14 - For anyone dismayed by the support of both candidates for drones (as many of my UChicago friends lighting up Facebook seem to be), here's a thought provoking piece from the Atlantic. At least in Pakistan, they might be the best of a series of bad options.

10:12 - Romney has delivered the same monologue about the state of the world at least three times now.

10:07 - The Afghanistan piece everyone in America should read - Dexter Filkins in the New Yorker. Short version: Things on the ground aren't looking good. Will they be better in 2014? We'll have to wait and see, no matter who wins.

10:04 - Politifact on the apology tour.

10:00 - Again and again, Romey tries to wrap completely disparate events - North Korea, the attacks in Libya, Iran - into a grand terrifying narrative about a catastrophic Obama foreign policy. It isn't working - in no small part because I don't really think Obama has a cohesive, universal foreign policy/"Obama Doctrine". And on some of the specifics, Romney and Obama agree.

9:57 - Has anyone looked into how the "apology tour" attack resonates with (undecided) voters? Intuitively, I feel like the average American probably thinks there are a couple of things we should apologize for.

9:56 - A reminder from the New York Times that Iran's advances don't wholly depend on what we do; political infighting is on the rise.

9:54 - "Nothing Governor Romney just said is true." How many time has this line been uttered in the debates thus far?

9:51 - Iran has also rejected reports that bilateral talks have been agreed to:


9:34 - A general guide to the key differences between the two in WSJ.

9:32 - Both candidates seem to be on top of their game again tonight but the jabs aren't resonating very well and a lot of ground is being retreaded. It seemed like they were giving closing statements just a few minutes ago; this is an end of the debate question. Also: take a shot every time the economy gets mentioned in this so-called foreign policy debate. See if you're still standing by hour's end.

9:04 - A long monologue by Schiefffer. Can already tell this is going to be a much slower paced debate than the past two.

Tonight's debate may well be the most important event of the 2012 race so far. The latest NBC News/WSJ poll has both candidates dead even at 47% nationally. These numbers come after last Tuesday's lively town hall debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The president's performance that night, a clear improvement from his sedate showing at the first of the three debates, may have slowed the Romney surge suggested by earlier polling.

Tonight's topic, foreign policy, may have the Obama team sweating. The president still leads Romney 47-43% on the issue according to a recent Pew poll, but the controversy surrounding the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya last month erased most of his earlier lead. The testy mixup at the last debate over the administration’s willingness to call the attack an “act of terror” brought the event back to the forefront of the campaign. Additionally, Saturday night’s ambiguous news about potential bilateral talks between the United States and Iran ensures that the president will face tough questions about the way forward in international efforts to halt the regime’s nuclear advances. The war in Afghanistan and continuing unrest in Syria are also likely to dominate tonight’s back-and-forth.

I’m liveblogging from one of several student watch parties at the University of Chicago, where the rollout of the new Institute of Politics, founded by Obama campaign advisor David Axlerod, has students more tuned in than ever to the election season. I’ll be including reactions and commentary from those here, alongside my own analysis and fact-checking when I can. Enjoy.

PolicyMic will be covering the final presidential debate in it's entirety. Check back here for all the latest analysis, polls, gaffes, news, zingers, thrills and spills. Bookmark and refresh this page for the most recent updates.