Presidential Debate #3: What to Watch For


(John Paraskevas/Newsday/MCT)

President Barack Obama, right, and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shake hands at the start of their second presidential debate on October 16th. The candidates meet for a third and final debate on Monday, October 22nd at 7 pm MST at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida

Charlie Light, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama will meet for one final debate on Monday, October 22nd beginning at 7 pm Mountain Standard Time. This debate should prove critical in the election, which will take place in just 16 days. Mitt Romney has closed the gap in the polls over the last couple of weeks, so for these two candidates, it means “the stakes could not be higher for their third debate,” says Susan Page, the Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today.

The latest poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal shows voters are split between the two candidates, who each have 47 percent of the vote. The previous poll, done before the first debate (which was on October 3rd), gave Obama a three point edge over Romney.

The Debate The focus of the final debate will be foreign policy, specifically these six topics chosen by moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS:

* 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 – I
* The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – II
* The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World

The debate will follow the same format as the first one: six 15 minute segments (one per topic), each beginning with a question from the moderator and two minutes for each candidate to answer. The rest of the 15 minutes will be for discussion and debate between the candidates on the issue, with moderation as needed.

The Issues Obama’s strong points on foreign policy are the killing of Osama Bin Laden in May of 2011 and his plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in 2014. Romney, however, will argue that Obama’s withdrawal plan is not the right move, and he will also emphasize Obama’s weaknesses in foreign relations. According to Page, Romney thinks that Obama “is too soft in foreign policy.”

One example Romney will most likely bring up is an attack on U.S. embassy staff in Libya last month that killed four Americans, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released documents last week that said there was a security shortage for embassy staff in Libya before the attack, and that Stevens had repeatedly voiced his concerns over it, according to ABC News. Obama recently took responsibility for allowing the attacks to happen, shifting the blame from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to himself.

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