When President Obama and Mitt Romney meet at Lynn University in Boca Rotan, Florida tonight for their third and final debate, it will signal the home stretch of the 2012 Presidential campaign. The debate will be moderated by Face the Nation host, Bob Schieffer and the subject of the debate will be limited to foreign policy. It is important for each candidate not only to turn in a solid debate performance, but also to force their opponent to appear the clear loser. As important as a decisive win is for each candidate, each campaign is looking for something different from the debate.
As for Mitt Romney, who trounced President Obama in the first debate and clearly had a strong performance in the second, his strategy will be to lock up the election with a decisive win in tonight's debate. The Governor has taken the reins of the campaign's momentum, as evidenced by last Friday's Gallup daily tracking poll which showed Mr. Romney with a 6 point lead over the incumbent president. He has also managed to convert states like Pennsylvania and Michigan to toss-up status from solidly in the Obama column.
President Obama, on the other hand, is engaged in the much more formidable task of shifting the momentum of the campaign back in his favor. His campaign has been seen by many to be rootless and wandering, trying desperately to diminish Mitt Romney with Big Bird ads and the spinning of Governor Romney's binder comment, which he made at the second debate. With crumbling poll numbers not only related directly to the race but his favorability as well, President Obama is behind the proverbial eight ball. I'm sure his campaign is looking to this final debate as a chance to shift the winds of the race in a direction that will fill his flaccid sails and pull him across the finish line ahead of Governor Romney.
I look for Mitt Romney to be well versed on every aspect of the President's foreign policy, but especially keen on Libya. The death of four Americans, including the ambassador, is not an easy pill for the American public to swallow. It is made even more difficult by the apparent incompetence of this administration to provide adequate security, even after it was requested several times by Ambassador Stevens and his staff. The incompetence was compounded by the clumsy cover-up which saw members of the administration denying the attack was an act of terror and instead blaming it on an obscure You Tube video.
The proceedings tonight in Florida will consist of a generous helping of political drama and I'm sure both candidates will bring their A game. But in the final analysis, Mitt Romney has the edge going in, he only needs a draw or better. President Obama needs a decisive win to have any hope of a change in the direction of this Presidential campaign.