Crucial Debate May Focus on Libya and Iran

Middle East Policy Takes Center Stage in Neck-and-Neck Race

getty images

By Reuters

Published October 22, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney face off in front of the cameras for a third and final time on Monday near the end of a presidential campaign season marked by a high number of memorable debates.

With 15 days to go until Americans vote on Nov. 6, the two candidates turn to foreign policy for their last encounter at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. The 90-minute event starts at 9 p.m. (0100 GMT on Tuesday) and is moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS.

The stakes are high as the pair run neck and neck in the polls. Presidential debates have not always been consequential, but this year they have had an impact.

Romney was reeling from a series of stumbles when he entered the first debate in Denver on Oct. 3, and his strong performance changed the course of the race, vaulting him back into an even position in the polls with Obama.

Democrats fretted openly about their candidate’s timidity at the podium.

Then, Obama was ruled the narrow winner of the second encounter on Oct. 16 when he got the better of Romney in a testy exchange over Libya. His campaign halted the slide but it was not enough to edge ahead in the polls. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey on Sunday put the two tied at 47 percent among likely voters.

Several times, debates marked turning points in the Republican primary race. T exas Governor Rick Perry’s White House run effectively ended when he failed to remember one of three federal agencies he would scrap, in his infamous “Oops” moment in a debate.

Newt Gingrich presented Romney a serious challenge at points during the primaries, partly on the back of strong debate performances.

The former House of Representatives speaker won fans among Republicans by attacking moderator John King of CNN for asking him about an old extramarital affair at the start of a debate in January in South Carolina. Gingrich won the state’s primary days later.

LAST-CHANCE DEBATE

Monday’s debate is the last major chance for Romney and Obama to be seen by millions of voters before Election Day. More than 60 million viewers watched each of their previous two encounters.

If recent history is any guide, it is anybody’s guess as to how the third face-to-face session will play out.

Despite a reputation for being wooden, Romney has shown an ability to rise to the occasion and perform well on stage.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.