Monday will mark the third and final debate the between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Only 15 days away from Election Day, the two candidates will face off in a 90-minute debate centered on foreign policy. The debate will take place at 9 p.m. EST at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Besides the usual amount of practiced rhetoric and rivaling accusations, there are several other important factors to look for in tonight’s debate.
The timing of the debate is significant as the most recent polls indicate that the presidential race is extremely close and according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC news poll released on Monday, the candidates are tied at 47% among likely voters. While the actual influence of presidential debates is questionable in the modern political era, surely in a race this close, both candidates are hoping their performance will have enough impact in the mind of voters to give them some sort of edge come Election Day.
Even though the tightness of the race would ideally result in the candidates putting forward explicit policy proposals, since the topic on Monday is foreign policy, a subject that is not easily digestible by the public, it is unlikely to happen. Instead, we can expect Obama to tout his military prowess by pointing to the death of Osama bin Laden while Romney will be accusing the president of being soft when it comes to Iran. The Middle East and China will be the geopolitical focus of the debate, while the perhaps even more relevant but also more complicated economic issues in Europe will be glanced over.
Some uncertainties do exist about tonight’s debate. Will moderator Bob Schaffer resemble the passive shadow of his contemporary Jim Lehrer, or will Schaffer be more willing to intervene like he has often done on his interview show Face the Nation? Will President Obama talk about Big Birds international counterparts? Will Romney somehow mention a binder full of women that are from across the world? We will find out those answers, along with a plethora of other half-truth statements and entertaining anecdotes, later tonight.
PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
For My Post-Debate Analysis please see this article. Thanks to everyone who followed along, and remember to go out and vote!
10:33- The greatest politician running this year makes this excellent point
10:32- Romney's closing remarks. Focusing on the economy, and promises to get new jobs. "I will get people off food stamps not by cutting the program, but by giving them jobs". Romney is also clear in his message though his confidence looks a little shaken. Ultimately though his closing statement is similar in Obama's in promising to work with the people.
10:30- Obama's closing remarks. Says we are better off four years in foreign policy and economy. He wants to focus on nation building within this country, referencing the need to improve infrastructure. Very clear and articulately delivered.
10:28- Romney's last debate points were very rushed, something about his wife crying over the fact that someone couldn't get a job. Wasn't his job to gut and downsize companies though? Also "I love teachers" is the last thing he says before the closing remark.
10:26- Obama during Romney's explanation of his plan for the auto-industry:
10:23- Romney is trying to convince people that he is a "son of Detroit" by letting the auto-companies to go bankrupt and then "give government help".Obama is calling him out in that he wouldn't give any government aid. This has a lot to do with China, at least the Asia pivot was mentioned for 10 seconds.
10:20- Romney finds out that copyright infringment exists in the world. Obama attacks Romney on shipping jobs overseas which isn't really that clear of an established fact.
10:17- "It's not government that makes the economy grow, but let me tell you the greatest national threat is a nuclear Iran, now let's talk about China"- Romney elcuidating to the audience his clear thought process and mental focus.
10:15- Obama on China: "Stop cheating"
10:12- Romney on drones: "Any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to this nation and our friends". Sorry thousands of innocent civilians, we just can't have people who don't like America exist in the world
10:08- I am glad PTSD is getting some attention. The state of Veteran's benefits is very saddening, and I hope either of these men will actually work to improve it.
10:06- Can Schaffer not say "president" correctly? "Mr. preisnt"
10:02- Obama is now taking control. A big attack on Romney "being all over the map" in every foreign policy issue. Obama is doing an excellent job in being specific but also appealing to emotional anecdotes that are somehow relevant to the issues under question. Now Obama is evoking his major strategy :
9:59- Romney is getting flustered over a hypothetical by Schaffer on what would happen if Israel calls saying missles are on the way to attack them. The best way to answer a hypothetical question is to just say the hypothetical isn't possible according to Romney.
Wait, what is the point of a hypothetical again? It isn't to sometimes bend the boundaries of the possible right?
9:57- Romney still harping on Obama apologizng, HE REALLY HATES APOLOGIES. But he does like to prove how much more he loves Israel than Obama does.
9:56- Obama says "Nothing Govenor Romney said is true"in response to Romney's criticism. #biggestwhopper
9:53 p.m.- Romney is continuing his no apologies doctrine by attacking Obama's "apology tour" or what some people call "diplomacy"
9:51 p.m.- Obama stressing that he will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. He also stated earlier that "I will stand with Isreal if they are attacked"
9:45 p.m.- Obama is now debating pretty agressively towards Romney (and his website). Also prepare for posts and tweets about bayonets.
9:44 p.m.- Here is a scorecard for how to judge defense budget plans
9:38 p.m.- Thanks Schaffer for getting us on track. He is a little bit better than Lehrer at least.
9:37 p.m.- Despite Schaffer's weak attempt to moderate, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT EDUCATION NOW. Remember the foreign policy thing?
9:31 p.m.- Romney is doing well to focus on the economy, as it seems most people feel stronger with him in charge of the economy than they are with him in charge of the military. However this is about foreign policy, we had enough talk about the economy...why is he talking about small business right now?
9:24 p.m.- Both candidates seem fairly interested in mentioning Israel as much as they can, even if the countries under scrutiny are Libya, Syria or Egypt.
SORRY FOR THE SLOW UPDATES, THE SITE IS TAKING SOME HEAVY TRAFFIC
9:22 p.m.-Obama sounds very confident in his knowledge of most of the issues brought up so far.
Syria is a really interesting topic tonight. It's gotten a decent amount of attention in the American media, but it seems like everyone wants to avoid it. Romney and Obama both do not want to commit to any intervention in Syria, yet it seems like the massacres there are not going to stop any time soon if the civil war goes on longer. I wish more people could think back to how Clinton did the same with Rwanda, at least so some kind of humanitarian intervention would be on the table.
Apparently Romney’s plan is “show leadership support, but without troops on the ground”. Obama’s is to “support the opposition”.
9:14 p.m.- Romney is right to press Obama on outlining an actual policy recommendation. Though once again this advice may go doubly for him. Also is his perception of Russia just solely based on Rocky IV?
9:12 p.m.- Romney on Libya: WE HAVE TO KILL THE BAD GUYS
9:09 p.m.- In his first response Obama is able to somehow sneak in that he killed the leadership of al-Qaeda. Though his explination that we didn't need to go invade Libya for years was a pretty good one.
9:05 p.m.- Schaffer just asked a question with about 12 different questions in it. At least Romney is opening up his response to the atrocities in Libya with a humorous joke.
9:01 p.m.- The audience has also taken a vow of celibacy in addition to their vow of silence. Who says American Values don't exist anymore?
8:50 p.m.- Here are the topics for tonight, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. Go get your wikipedia game on so you can nod your head when one of the canditates says something you read about one time.
— "America's role in the world."
— "Our longest war — Afghanistan and Pakistan."
— "Red lines — Israel and Iran."
— Two segments on "the changing Middle East and the new face of terrorism."
— "The rise of China and tomorrow's world."
8:39 p.m.- While the world waits for the debate to start, read this interesting article about the effects of the current economic sactions on Iran. These sactions will undoubtedly be discussed tonight.
8:20 p.m.- Only 40 minutes away till we start, can't wait to see who messes up the worst this time