Final US Presidential Debate to Be Held Monday

    The third and final U.S. presidential debate takes place Monday in Boca Raton, Florida, devoted entirely to foreign policy.  It remains to be seen what impact it will have on voter assessments of President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney less than three weeks before the U.S. election.

    In their first two debates, both men sparred over the Middle East, the killing of Americans in Libya, the U.S. response to Syria's civil war, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and trade with China.

    Their final encounter could bring a somewhat deeper examinations of these issues.  For President Obama, a key question is whether his perceived advantage on national security matters will bring any more strength in polling numbers.

    Dewey Clayton, professor of political science at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, says questions about how President Obama has handled Libya and Syria have given Romney an opening.

    "There is clearly plenty of fodder out here to have a spirited debate on foreign policy, I think clearly it will give both candidates an opportunity to talk about how they may do things differently, whether it is withdrawing troops from Afghanistan or whether it is just clearly talking about maintaining a strong national defense," said Clayton.

    On Libya, Romney has been on the attack, asserting that the president has mishandled events there and in the broader Middle East.

    "There were many days that passed before we knew whether this was a spontaneous demonstration or actually whether it was a terrorist attack.  And there was no demonstration involved, it was a terrorist attack and it took a long time for that to be told to the American people," said Romney at the second presidential debate at New York's Hofstra University.

    Some analysts say Americans, and people in other countries, have been left wondering how Mitt Romney's approach would differ from President Obama on, for example, Iran's nuclear program or the U.S. response to the Arab Spring.  

    Danielle Pletka, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

    "I think for outsiders who are trying to get a grip on either what does the next four years mean for us if Barack Obama is re-elected, what does the next four years mean for us if Mitt Romney is elected, you're not quite sure where it's going," Pletka said.

    Tamara Cofman Wittes of the Brookings Institution Saban Center for Middle East Policy, says each candidate constructed a narrative about the Middle East:  Governor Romney warning about American weakness, President Obama emphasizing closure of an earlier chapter of U.S. policy.  

    Cofman suggests this potential negative side effect.

    "The notion of trying to use events in the Middle East to build a narrative that is helpful to your election campaign, might well be dismaying to people living in the region, to see events on the ground that are of such magnitude for Arab citizens treated as, in essence, a political football in our election campaign," Cofman explained.

    Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center, points to what he calls a bigger question hanging over each side's arguments.

    "There is a bigger question here about what is the role of U.S. leadership post-Arab Spring and how do others in the region perceive that leadership," said Hamid.

    On the campaign trail, President Obama emphasizes accomplishments such as ending the U.S military role in Iraq, drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan, eliminating Osama bin-Laden, and decimating al-Qaida's leadership.

    Governor Romney says Obama's Middle East policy is "unraveling", while on other issues such as trade relations with China he pledges to get tougher than the president has been.

    Daniel Serwer, of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, says the most serious foreign policy discussion may not come until after the election.

    "The level of generality and the level of polarization don't lend themselves to a lot of serious discussion," said Serwer.  "In an odd sort of way, you see that in the Romney stance, because Romney while criticizing the administration on Iraq, on Afghanistan, on Iran has put forward very few distinct proposals on those subjects and the reason for that is it is hard to think up better things to do."

    While the American public remains primarily focused on the economy and job creation, opinion surveys suggest Mitt Romney may have chipped away somewhat at President Obama's dominance on national security and foreign policy issues.

    A CNN poll after the second debate showed Obama leading Governor Romney 49 to 47 percent on the question of ability to handle foreign affairs.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: martin sammy from: ghana
    October 22, 2012 10:25 PM
    Rommey is confused. He is does not seem to be in control of the facts

    by: John from: NY
    October 19, 2012 11:17 PM
    Why doesnt the moderator ask Obama why he continues to deny Islamic terror as a source of attacks on the U.S.? He initially dismissed the Fort Hood, Christmas Day, and Times Square attacks as acts of terrorism, despite clear links to al-Qaida and/or the Taliban. WHY MR. PRESIDENT WHY?

    by: Malek Towghi from: E.Lansing, MI, USA
    October 19, 2012 7:02 PM
    Now that President Barack Obama has diagnosed Governor Romney's problem, "romneysia" as the president called it today, I don't think Mitt has any chance of winning the upcoming Monday debate.
    In Response

    by: Jason from: China
    October 21, 2012 10:03 AM
    In contrast, I think Governor Romney has a big chance of winning the Presidential election. He has very obvious opinion on the forign policy and economic. But unfortunately, there will be a more tough policy on Chinese companies. It is no equal.

    by: Stevce from: West
    October 19, 2012 5:52 PM
    Obama's foreign policy is unraveling right before our very eyes. Good luck Barry on Monday...how you gonna lie your way out of what's happening on our T.V sets?

    by: Artie Burris from: Irving , Texas
    October 19, 2012 5:23 PM
    I hope Romney tells Obama that He will NOT BE BOWING TO ANY ARABS and will have a strong Armed Force.But Most of all The bowing part. . And will put America Back To God
    In Response

    by: Malek Towghi from: USA
    October 20, 2012 3:16 PM
    For most of the Republicans and some Democrats, "strong Armed Forces" means enriching the Military-Industrial-Business-Oil-Complex by starting un-winnable unending wars funded by American taxpayers or by loaned money to be paid by our children and grandchildren. That thousands and thousands of young American men and women are killed -- and maimed physically and/or mentally -- is of no concern for them because most of the recruits come from the economically lower classes. These are the modern slave gladiators of our 21st century Patrician class.

    by: Anonymous
    October 19, 2012 5:04 PM
    Ugh, wrong... the final US Presidential debate will be on Tuesday, for the third party candidates who have been unfairly excluded from the Obama/Romney staged "debates". It will be hosted by Larry King so don't just assume it will be inconsiquential

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora