We're only fifteen minutes away from the final Presidential debate of the election season, coming to us from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. The moderator for tonight's debate will be Bob Schieffer of CBS News and host of CBS's "Face the Nation."
So, what can we expect tonight?
For one, terrible ratings. From the Washington Post:
The first one was The First One. The second one was, ‘Is Obama going to [mess] up?,’ ” one network exec explained to the TV Column, of the two debates’ nearly identical numbers.
But Monday’s third debate — while sure to be the night’s most-watched event, running as it does on a multitude of networks — had three strikes against it:
1.) The debate was scheduled to air against Monday Night Football.
2.) The debate was scheduled to air against Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.
3.) The debate was set to focus on foreign policy.
The first two make sense, of course; the third is somewhat depressing to consider, though unsurprising.
Which brings us to the topics of this evening's debate, from CNN.com:
Similar to the first debate between Obama and Romney, the debate will be broken into six 10-minute segments.
Two of those segments will focus on the first topic, "The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism," the [Commission on Presidential Debates] statement said.
The other regional topics are "Our longest war — Afghanistan and Pakistan," "Red Lines — Israel and Iran," and "The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World."
"America’s role in the world" is the fifth topic. The CPD said the topics may be raised in any order.
That being said, what can we actually expect from the candidates? For that, check out this analysis from Audrey Farber of PolicyMic:
While hawk President George W. Bush was able to curry votes thanks to his enthusiasm for promoting military actions abroad via the War on Terror, it is doubtful similar militarism will be successful for Romney with what is now a war-weary populace. So Romney will have to play to the fiscally conservative, rather than hawkish, elements of the GOP. His outsourcing legacy with Bain Capital should come up in discussion, and the fiscally-aware voter base will be looking for policies towards China. The security buffs will be looking to answers on Schieffer’s terrorism questions, and answers to questions on Afghanistan and the rate of troop withdrawal from the Middle East will be on everyone’s radar screens.
On the other side, Obama’s inability to make “progress” in the Middle East (what’s new?) and his administration’s handling of the Arab Spring and the Libya crisis will almost certainly be a point of contention, though I’d expect him to bring up the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden. Then there was the mini-scandal last November when Obama and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy were caught criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama and Netanyahu have disagreed on several issues in the past, including the building of Israeli-government-financed settlements in the West Bank. The “peace process” is the perennial topic-du-jour so this is sure to arise.
Either way, it should be an interesting show — and if not, there's always football.