President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney met on Monday night for the third and final debate, this time on foreign policy. Moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News picked topics including America’s role in the world, the war in Afghanistan, terrorism and the Middle East and China’s rise. As polls show a tightening race, we analyze the impact of the debate and parse the candidates’ positions.

Debate Video

Notable Coverage

The Final Presidential Debate 23 October,2012forum

Henry Brady, professor of political science and public policy and dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley
Carla Marinucci, political writer for The San Francisco Chronicle
Shanto Iyengar, professor of communication and political science at Stanford University

  • Rhet

    RT will air a Third Party debate today at 6PM PST, 9PM EST:
    The RT live feed is always here:
    Mac users can play the live feed in QuickTime; Linux users can play it with mplayer.
    In the Bay Area, Comcast channel 103 appears to be RT:

  • Arman Garakani

    How can the Republican’s criticize Obama that he has not turned the tide in one term, when it took two FDR terms and the WWII to get over the great depression.

  • disqus_tMih59Uhkd

    Like all successful primary winners, Romney is now positioning himself as a moderate, which is tantamount to shaking up his campaign like a giant Etch-A-Sketch’ as one of his handlers suggested he would do in the general election.

    Part of the picture of Mitt Romney painted at the Republican convention was of a decent, community-oriented man deeply involved in his community. Having lived for 13 years in Utah and having observed other Mormon Bishops [unpaid lay leader of local Mormon (LDS) church (ward)] throughout this time, Mitt seems typical of the lot: the first out the door to shovel the walks of elderly neighbors (Mormon or not), yet marching in (rigid goose-step) to the edicts of the LDS Church leadership. We can all expect that Romney will display the same (unthinking) fealty to the promises extracted from him by the Republican political machine/base.

  • 4TheFundamentals

    Michael, as an Independent voter who desperately wants to have 2 viable parties, I am distressed at the cynicism w/ which Romney has approached this election. Either he changed EVERYTHING he’s said he believes in last night or he nakedly lied about what he truly believes in. How can we have a legitimate democracy when one candidate refuses to engage legitimately?

  • Joseph Urban

    In my opinion, because most people cannot critically assess the content the candidates present during these debates, and because so few are sufficiently curious to seek out a variety of sources of expert opinion, they simply resort to their “gut feeling” about whom they trust more. Whoever was more successful at accomplishing that last night had the bigger impact on the vote count.

  • Ben

    Oh so moderate today. Romney will do anything the GOP wants, and that will include right wing social policies, slash and burns budgets and kowtowing to the big big money interests.

  • deedee

    another fantastic way to watch the debates is to follow along on Twitter #debate – hysterical comments and you get both sides [dem & republican] which i think is important….

    • chrisco

      Or as I see it, this is another way to NOT watch the debates. In other words, you are watching all the tweets and not paying attention to the debate.

  • ginbahr

    the actual face time on camera is not balanced. When Obama was speaking the camera went to Romney’s smirk. When Romney spoke it stayed steady on him. When Obama spoke there was a camera behind his head, no camera behind Romney’s head. This is subtle but makes a big impact when the actual coverage is so skewed.

  • Clare Kirk

    when I watch the debates and campaigning one thing that I always remind myself of is that the President has to do this while also running the country. That in itself puts him at a disadvantage.

  • How are the topics chosen for the presidential debates and who chooses them?

  • John

    A vote for a third party candidate is a vote for Romney. The votes fro Nader got Bush elected. And you won’t get wishy washy Romney who may sway your way, you’ll get the REPUBLICAN MACHINE, complete with all the billionaires and Karl Rove and the religious fascists. Elect Obama and then rally support for the issues you feel aren’t being addressed. You will have no chance to do that under a Republican run government.

    If you vote for a third party you might as well just stand up and check the box next to Romney’s name. Don’t kid yourself, a third party candidate will never get elected, you won’t be “sending a message” you will be electing Romney. Come on people, don’ty throw your vote away, get Obama reelected and push for the issues we can address in a second term.

    A vote for a third party candidate is a vote for Romney. Obama is perfect but he is a heck of a lot better then what we would be facing under Romney and the Republican machine.

    Vote for Obama. Please.

    • chrisco

      But I don’t believe in Obama and his politics. I support the Green Party and its politics. Why can’t I vote for the party I believe in but I must vote for the party YOU believe in?

      • John

        You can, just remember if somehow Romney is elected, you got what you deserve,

        • chrisco

          No, you got what you deserve, since you didn’t listen to me.

          • EM

            There’s really way too much at stake here for this selfish little argument you are having, Chrisco. Wake up! We progressives ALL support the Green Party, and sadly, all we can manage to do most election cycles is fend off the Republican neo-cons. Because if we don’t you and your children and your children’s children will live to regret it.

          • chrisco

            I am wide awake but I think you better wake up. Tim Geithner is the Treasury Secretary. Larry Summers in in the inner sanctum. Jeffrey Immelt is feted. Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden (Iraq war supporters) are promoted. Etc. etc.

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    In basic training one still is trained using bayonets and a submarine is a boat not a ship which suggests Obama was hoping those ignorant of the military will believe he was aware of what he was talking about. And the fact is Obama DID do an apology tour of the middle east.

    Alas I do not expect a liberal KQED/NPR outfit to be anywhere near positive about any Republican. And yes, I do send in my membership renewal yearly so I believe I have a right to express my views.

    • EM

      I believe you do, too, Beth. I’m a Democrat and I believe in free speech. I just don’t believe in vote stealing, voter intimidation and voter or employee coersion. The Republicans are far more evil than you understand them to be. We will ALL live to regret another neo-con, corporate administration, on both “sides of the aisle.”

  • EM

    I was very disappointed in the after-debate pundit discussion on KQED last night – with the exception of histoirian Michael Benchloss. Gwen Ifil asking whether the bayonets quip from President Obama was too mean-spirited. Give me a break. Mean-spirited is Romney and friends planning to steal as many votes as they can. Mean-spirited is Republican-owned businesses coercing their employees to attend Romney’s rallies under threat of losing their jobs. Wake up, Gwen. And David Brooks thinks the edge went to Mr. Romney simply because he didn’t fly off the handle and/or say anything to embarrass himself. As if simply repeating – word for word – what President Obama just said wasn’t embarrassing himself. Setting the bar awfully low, aren’t you Mr. Brooks? But then, I guess one has to set the bar pretty low in order for most Republican’s to reach it….

    • EM

      What Mr. Brooks didn’t mention, but that we all know, is that Mr. Romney will lie, cheat and (try to) steal this election if he has to. You see, it’s personal for Mr. Romney: he wants the presidency as another feather in his hat – the culmination of a long, industrious career of corporate hegemony. That’ s why I suspect even Mr. Brooks will be voting for Mr. Obama.

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