With just two weeks until election day, Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama will meet one last time at Lynn University in Florida to debate foreign policy matters. Romney handily won the first debate and has been gaining momentum ever since, despite a much better performance from Obama in the second debate. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the two deadlocked, each claiming 47% of likely voters.
Tonight’s likely topics will include the president’s handling of the consulate attack in Benghazi, the U.S. stance on Iranian nuclear development, and the rise of China as a global power. Who will carry the momentum into the home stretch of the campaign? Stay tuned as WSN teams up with ABC News to live stream the final presidential debate.
UPDATE – 10:36 PM – Closing Statements
Pres. Obama – We have made progress, but we cannot go back to the policies that put us in the hole in the first place. I want to build on our strengths. I want the best education system in the world, to control our own energy, invest in research and technology, and maintain the strongest military in the world. I will always listen to your voices and fight for your families and do everything I can to make sure the United States remains the greatest country in the world.
Gov. Romney – I’m optimistic about the future. I want to see growing peace and make the world a safer place. I will get us on track to a balanced budget. This nation is the hope of the earth. We need strong leadership. I’d like to be that leader.
UPDATE – 10:27 PM – On rise of China as a global power
Pres. Obama – China is both an adversary but also a potential partner in the international community if it follows the rules. We are going to insist china plays by the same rules of everyone else.
Gov. Romney – China is like us. They want a stable world, they don’t want war. They don’t want to see parts of the world break out into chaos. They want the economy to work and the world to be free and open. We can be a partner with china. We don’t have to be an adversary – if they’re willing to be responsible. “On day one, I would label them a currency manipulator.”
UPDATE – 10:15 PM – On Afghanistan and Pakistan
Gov. Romney – Pakistan is important to the region, the world and us. They have 100 nuclear warheads. They have Haqqani network and Taliban. A Pakistan that falls apart would be an extraordinary danger to Afghanistan and us. They are not acting like an ally but we have some work to do. Supports drone strikes entirely and supports Obama administration’s heavy use of it.
Pres. Obama – We focused our attention in Afghanistan and met many of the objectives that had gotten us there in the first place. We are now in a position where we can transition out and Afghanis must take place in a responsible fashion.
UPDATE – 10:02 PM – On Israel and red line with Iran
Pres. Obama – I will stand with Israel if they are attacked. A nuclear Iran is a threat to our national security. I think premature military action would be a mistake. We’ve put in the toughest, most crippling sanctions ever. The central question is: who’s going to be credible to all parties involved? The President of the United States and the United States of America has been on the right side of history. That kind of credibility is precisely why we have been able to show leadership on a wide range of issues facing the world right now.
Gov. Romney – Iran sees weakness in Obama administration. It’s essential for the president to show strength from the very beginning to show what’s acceptable and unacceptable. I would indict Ahmadinejad for Genocide. I don’t see our influence growing around the world. I see it receding.
UPDATE – 9:46 PM – On military spending
Prof. Gershman – Obama (sadly) brags about high military spending. US spends 42% of global military spending, way more than any real or potential “peer competitors.” Romney’s numbers are insane and have no base in reality. Obama schools Romney on the capabilities versus ship counting exercise.
Pres. Obama – We need to be thinking about cyber security, we need to think about space. This is driven by strategy, not by politics. That’s what our budget does. Romney points out we have fewer ships in the navy. We also have fewer horses and bayonets. The question is not a game of battleship, it’s what are our capabilities?
Gov. Romney – Our navy is smaller now than anytime since 1917. I want to make sure we have ships required by navy. Air force is older, smaller than anytime it was founded in 1947.
UPDATE – 9:30 PM – NYU Professor John Gershman – Romney not able to offer a real alternative to Obama’s policy in Syria. Surprising though that Romney has ceased the Benghazi attacks on Obama.
Pres. Obama – Your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map and is not one to keep Americans safe. I’m glad you see Al Qaeda as a threat because the last time you were asked who our greatest geopolitical was, you said it was Russia – not Al Qaeda. You said you wouldn’t duplicate what happened in Iraq, but just a few weeks ago you said you would have more troops in there. “Every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong… Here’s one thing I’ve learned as commander in chief: you’ve got to be clear.”
Gov. Romney – “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.” We have to put together comprehensive strategy to reject extremism in the Middle East. “This is a region in tumult. We’ve got real problems in the region.” I also said Iran is the greatest national security threat.
UPDATE – 9:16 PM – Bob Schieffer issues first segment: how will the candidates deal with challenge of a changing middle east in the new face of terrorism?
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