3rd Presidential Debate Preview
October 22, 2012 4 Comments
Tomorrow will be the third and final Presidential debate. It will focus on foreign policy and will be moderated by Bob Schieffer. On one hand this isn’t a foreign policy election so on first glance one wonders how this debate could change things for either candidate. Foreign policy is a subject matter that tends to favor the incumbent President. For whatever reason Americans don’t like debating foreign policy with a sitting President. We want to support the Commander in Chief, we want to support the foreign policy currently in place. So on that front Obama has a built in advantage. Romney is already behind the eight ball.
On the other hand foreign policy has suddenly come into play in this race. The terrorist attack in Libya which cost the life of our Ambassador there has made foreign policy a more important issue than it otherwise would have been. Couple that with the administration’s claim that there wasn’t a terrorist attack but instead a riot in Benghazi caused by an obscure anti-Muslim video on You Tube and suddenly foreign policy seems to matter. Romney is obviously going to go after Obama on Benghazi and this time he knows the President’s line of attack. Expect Romney to attack Obama hard on this matter. After all, the President’s UN Ambassador said it was the video on 5 Sunday talking head shows and the President said as much in his UN speech. Yet it was a terrorist attack, by al Qaeda no less.
There are reports today that Iran has agreed to enter direct negotiations with the United States concerning its nuclear weapons program. The White House has denied these reports. Some have thought the potential October surprise of this election would be something with Iran. Either something secretly negotiated or an agreement to negotiate. Iran obviously would rather deal with Obama than with Romney, so perhaps they’re the ones floating this story in the hopes that they can affect the US election. This issue will come up, or at least it should, in the debate tomorrow. How the candidates respond will be critical, especially for Romney.
The NY Post reported yesterday that the Obama campaign is violating election law by accepting foreign donations. This has been discussed before, the Obama campaign doesn’t use a credit card program that requires that the address provided to the web site and the one the credit card company has matches. This means anyone can provide a fake address to the Obama campaign web site while using their own credit card. Obviously this means that a foreign national could use their own credit card and provide the Obama web site a fake address in the United States. Schieffer might not ask the question but Romney ought to ask Obama if he can guarantee that all the donations to his campaign are legal. Romney could create a wedge issue here and he could score some points because Obama can’t make such a guarantee.
Romney is going to have a few issues to go after Obama with tomorrow. How he handles those attacks and how Obama responds to them will decide the winner of the debate. These two have clear differences in foreign policy but they won’t be as clear to causal voters as their differences in domestic policy. As such it will be these attack issues that will be the difference between winner and loser. Benghazi may very well decide the winner. Obama won’t have Candy Crowley to save him, Schieffer wouldn’t dare at this point. I wouldn’t bet against Obama. As such, I’m picking him as the winner. But it won’t matter in the polls because foreign policy isn’t going to decide this election.