What to expect in the final debate
Mon October 22, 2012 5:56 pm

1. Romney will renew his criticism of Obama’s muddled explanation of the attack on the consulate at Benghazi. Obama will respond with an attack on Romney’s ill-timed press release critizing the White House’s performance. Romney will not repeat his previous (false) accusation that it took Obama two weeks to call the attack “an act of terror.”

2. Another big issue will be whether Obama’s policy toward Israel puts “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel. Romney is a strong defender of Israel and he will seek to portray Obama as not providing sufficient support for President Netanyahu.

3. Romney will attack Obama’s policy toward Iran: whether Obama has done enough to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. It will be hard for Romney to argue that Obama has been soft on Iran. Sanctions have been very tough, and the Iranian currency has collapsed.

4. China is a big issue for Romney. He has said he would label China a currency manipulator (artificially depressing the value of its currency, among other offenses), including computer hacking.

5. Afghanistan. Obama will argue that he has ended two wars. But they haven’t been successful wars, and it remains unclear, after ten years in Afghanistan, whether the U.S. has strategic interests there. Romney has embraced the bellicose neocon philosophy of using American power to extend the nation’s power and prestige.

6. Defense cuts. Romney has repeatedly criticized Obama–and Republicans in Congress–for cutting defense spending. The cuts were part of a negotiated deal. Obama has said that the Pentagon did not want the proposed spending measures.

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