U.S. President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are set to debate for a third and final time Monday, this time on foreign affairs.
For months during the long campaign leading to the November 6 election, surveys showed voters giving the Democratic incumbent a strong foreign policy edge over Romney, especially for President Obama's approval of the 2011 raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama wave to the crowd following the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado, October 3, 2012
President Barack Obama speaks during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.
Mitt Romney smiles at his rival at the debate in Denver.
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama spar over energy policy during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University, October 16, 2012.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) debates Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (R) during the vice presidential debate October 11, 2012.
Customers at the Havana Social Club in Seattle gathered to watch the second presidential debate, October 16, 2012.
President Barack Obama smiles at moderator Jim Lehrer at the University of Denver, October 3, 2012.
Members of the audience were invited to ask questions at the second presidential debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.
The Republican candidate's foreign affairs expertise has largely been limited to overseas business deals he helped negotiate during his long career as a venture capitalist.
However, newer surveys show that Romney has cut sharply into the president's perceived advantage on foreign affairs. Romney has pointedly criticized the White House's changing explanations about the September 11 raid on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four U.S. diplomats.
Aside from debating the Benghazi attack, the candidates are likely to discuss a variety of other foreign affairs issues. Among them are the bin Laden raid, China's role in the world economy, Obama's plan to end American military involvement in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan by late 2014, the deadly conflict in Syria, rising tensions between Israel and Iran over Tehran's nuclear development program, and relations with Russia.
Fifteen days ahead of the election, several surveys show the race virtually tied, with a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll
finding the race deadlocked at 47 percent each.
Monday's 90-minute debate is being held in the closely contested southern state of Florida and will be moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News.