What to Expect at Tonight's Debate
Foreign policy clash will be tough one for Romney
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2012 4:17 AM CDT
Updated Oct 22, 2012 7:55 AM CDT
A worker adjusts the backdrop on stage in preparation tonight's debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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(Newser) – With the candidates tied at one debate win each—and 47% of the vote, according to a new poll—don't expect either man to pull any punches in tonight's foreign policy showdown in Florida. Pundits think President Obama has the edge, but he is by no means invincible.

  • Foreign policy hasn't looked like one of Romney's strong points, so this debate will be his best chance to change that, the AP notes. It expects him to attack Obama on Iran, Syria, and US-Israeli relations.

  • Romney hasn't said much about Libya since last week's debate, but the issue is certain to surface again tonight, predict Anne Gearan and David Fahrenthold at the Washington Post. Obama may again accuse Romney of playing politics with the attack, portraying him as "unschooled in the sophisticated intelligence provided to presidents or the heavy decisions expected of them."
  • Top Romney advisers believe it will be almost impossible for him to win, Politico reports, insisting that it's not just expectation-setting. Their fears are summed up by a quip President Obama threw out last week: "Spoiler alert: We got bin Laden."
  • At the same time, Republicans are hoping foreign policy isn't as important as the economy in this election. "I don’t think there are a lot of soft voters who are waiting to hear a position on the eurozone," one official said.
  • The debate will be more about tone than substance, the Wall Street Journal predicts, because, heated rhetoric aside, Obama and Romney largely agree on foreign policy. "A lot of it seems to be a question of approach," says one scholar. "Is the policy different? I don't see it."
  • Whoever comes out on top, expect them to complain about the moderator. Daily Intel has a preemptive guide, outlining sure signs that Bob Schieffer is in the tank for both sides.