Preview of third and final presidential debate

U.S. President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Romney speak during the second U.S. presidential debate in Hempstead.

Monday Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will square off in their third and final debate, this time focusing on foreign policy. What will the hottest topics be? Metro spoke with Stephen Hess, a speechwriter and top aide to Richard Nixon who’s now a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

Metro: The President always has an advantage when it comes to foreign policy. Will this debate go in Obama’s favor?

Hess: Yes, and foreign policy is seen as Obama’s strong point: ending the Iraq war, leaving Afghanistan and killing Osama bin Laden. But Romney could get some momentum by going after Obama on the killing of the US ambassador in Libya and on Obama’s policy towards Israel and Iran. Romney has also been aggressive on China. But the important thing to remember is that these are not the important issues. This election is about the economy. The two previous debates were important, but now virtually everyone has made up their minds. Now the candidates just have to keep up the enthusiasm among their supporters.

Isn’t it paradoxical to have the foreign policy be the last debate, given its importance?

The world doesn’t stop just because there’s a US election. This is a chance to get the candidates on record about particular issues. But candidates often sound robust and when they get to the Oval Office they discover that reality is very complicated. Romney keeps talking about what he’s going to do to China on Day 1. When I worked in the White House, on Day 1 we couldn’t even find a pen to write with!

Osama bin Laden is Obama’s trump card in this debate. Will he help Obama will the election?

He helped George W. Bush win the election! 9/11 created a whole new presidency for George W. Bush. Bin Laden has impacted the last three presidential elections.


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