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

(page 2 of 2)

The incumbent Democrat seems to have the upper hand on foreign policy since he has been in charge of U.S. national security for nearly four years. He gets credit for the mission that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden and for pulling troops from Iraq.

David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Center at Southern Illinois University, said Obama has two goals: show that “he’s got nothing to apologize for in the way he has conducted foreign policy” and question the inexperienced Romney on foreign affairs.

China could be an issue for Obama to raise, said Yepsen, as Romney has vowed to crack down on Chinese trade policies if elected.

“He’s got to really pin Romney down on what he means by some of the things he’s saying. ‘What do you mean when you say you are going to get tough on China? How do you go about doing that?’” he said.

A former governor of Massachusetts whose trip abroad in July to London, Jerusalem and Poland was marked by missteps, Romney has to assure voters he is a credible alternative to the president on the world stage.

Romney accuses Obama of presiding over a weakening in U.S. influence abroad.

“Many voters are ready to fire Obama if they see Romney as an acceptable alternative,” said Yepsen. “Foreign policy has not been a big driver of this campaign but I think Romney could add some icing to his cake if people say, ‘Hey, this guy is on top of world affairs.’”

The two men at their second debate last week clashed bitterly over Libya, a preview of what is to come on Monday. They argued over Obama’s handling of an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

The Obama administration first labeled the incident a spontaneous reaction to a video made in the United States that lampooned the Prophet Mohammad. Later it said it was a terrorist assault on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

This shifting account, and the fact that Obama went on a political fundraising trip the day after the attack, has given Romney ammunition to use at Monday’s debate.


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!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • 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.