UPDATE 12:00 AM: Check back for final debate analysis here in moments. Decent debate from the candidates, but it matters more who wins in November and less who won tonight. More to follow...
UPDATE 10:29 PM: Romney is coming off as testy, cutting off the sitting President while he speaks.
UPDATE 10:26 PM: The NYTimes does a great job here answering the question of whether Obama went on an "apology tour."
UPDATE 10:23 PM: "How difficult will it be to 'work with China' if we label them a 'currency manipulator' on day one of your presidency, Romney?" - Moderator Bender
UPDATE 10:18 PM: Romney has struggled to tie the Benghazi incident to any pattern of Obama Administration incompetence. As I pointed out before the debate, that would be the only way he could succeed tonight, and he just hasn't done it. He got a strike after the actual consulate attack. Then he got strike two when Candy Crowley had to correct his mistaken remarks on the topic. This is his third swing. Say it with me, "strike three, Romney."
UPDATE 10:15 PM: Romney hasn't said how he will bring Israel and the Palestinians closer together. Not that Obama has succeeded there, but I don't see how Romney's intense love affair with Netanyahu will bring about peace in the region.
UPDATE 10:14 PM: Pretty much sums up Romney's foreign policy:
UPDATE 10:10 PM: Pakistan will be an enormous problem going forward for us. I don't envy either of these candidates in having to answer questions about it. Frankly, Obama didn't really answer the question here, but it has be difficult to talk about the delicate situation there for a sitting President.
UPDATE 10:04 PM: Interesting that Romney now endorses Obama-led diplomatic route to preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb. He took a much more bellicose tact on Iran in the past.
UPDATE 9:58 PM: Every President except Clinton "skipped Israel" in their first term. Obama went there even before the election ended. Obama's doing a great job showcasing what true loyalty to Israel means, not just Republican lipservice.
UPDATE 9:56 PM: Who did Obama apologize to?
UPDATE 9:54 PM: Not sure if this helps Romney or not, but according to our social media insider Syria and Russia are being discussed a lot on the interwebs.
UPDATE 9:50 PM: Obama waited patiently during the Green Revolution in Iran because he made the strategic decision that had he jumped too soon to supporting the dissidents, the Iranian regime leaders would've assumed the revolution to be a CIA ploy. Given the CIA's history with Iran, that's a very reasonable concern.
UPDATE 9:42 PM: They need to stop weirdly staring at each other....
UPDATE 9:41 PM: Romney has some plans, but it seems like the details will have to wait until January, if ever.
UPDATE 9:40 PM: While Romney has cited Russia as a long term strategic threat, he also cited more immediate concerns.
UPDATE 9:35 PM: Obama on Romney's plan: "The 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back." BOOOOOOM!
UPDATE 9:30 PM: Romney, "Syria is Iran's route to the sea." This is why we study geography, sir!
UPDATE 9:20 PM: I can't tell if Romney's trying to go to the left of Obama on the Middle East. Obama's response is very reasonable regarding Syria. He also agrees with me and hesitates to give "heavy weapons to Syria."
UPDATE 9:10 PM: Romney, on whose authority do we have to dictate the terms of the Arab Spring? How much of our budget are you willing to set aside for this enormous undertaking?
UPDATE 9:05 PM: Initial Impression.
I find it interesting that this is the second debate moderator that has started with the Libya topic this campaign season.
UPDATE 8:50 PM: I'm ready
UPDATE 8:30 PM: How the debate will probably go down:
UPDATE 8:20 PM: Wolf Blitzer interviews Romney pre-debate.
Romney trusts "reasonable voices" in Syria and seeks to potentially donate weapons and funds. Despite his next claim that he and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu are extremely close, he would arm possible future enemies of the Jewish State.
UPDATE 8:00: PM Fellow PolicyMic pundit Edward Williams shares his interview with Stephanie Cutter, Obama Campaign's Deputy Director.
Unfortunately, this all-important debate will be held hostage by a Republican candidate who will presumably hammer Obama on this one issue, leaving Americans asking: What would you do differently, Romney?
For Obama’s part, he has shown to be somewhat of a military hawk. His foreign policy is generally criticized from the left, which sees his Afghan War troop surge, his maintaining the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, and his incessant drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere as blights on an overall positive record in this field. He ended the war in Iraq on time, successfully orchestrated an international trade embargo with Iran which has prevented that country from reaching its goals of acquiring nuclear weapons, helped coordinate NATO aerial strikes against the maligned regime of Muammar Ghaddafi in Libya, resulting in the successful liberation of its people from the tyrannous yoke of his oppressive rule, and ordered the death of Osama bin Laden. Obama’s team has focused heavily on this latter accomplishment, a real touchdown for his reelection bid, and will probably do so again at the upcoming debate.
Obama will win the debate if he can present a comprehensive list of his foreign policy achievements while projecting an image of presidential stoicism and power.
It will not hurt if he can highlight the Romney/Ryan ticket’s complete lack of foreign policy experience.
He should avoid getting bogged down in an overly complicated dialogue on the issue of the Benghazi attack, and should not sound like a broken record when repeating what he did to Osama bin Laden.
Keys to the Match for Team Romney:
Romney will win the debate if he can convincingly steer the entire discussion towards his perception of Obama’s failures, particularly regarding the Benghazi attack.
He must avoid exposing his foreign policy inexperience.
He should keep the pressure on Obama, but do so in a way that does not make him seem temperamental.
The debate kicks off at 9 PM EST, Monday night. Rest assured PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live, so if you are watching the Monday Night Football game, check back here for live updates but be sure to bookmark and refresh this page.