Checking the candidates' facts on foreign policy and national security
October 21st, 2012
06:00 PM ET

Checking the candidates' facts on foreign policy and national security

Monday’s debate focuses on foreign policy and national security. The debate commission announced that the main topics will be: Afghanistan and Pakistan, Israel and Iran, "The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism," and "The Rise of China and Tomorrow's World.

Ahead of the debate, here’s a look at some campaign claims about foreign policy that we've looked at:

FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election
My debate checklist: Center for American Progress' Brian Katulis
October 21st, 2012
05:52 PM ET

My debate checklist: Center for American Progress' Brian Katulis

By Brian Katulis, Special to CNN

EDITOR’S NOTE: Brian Katulis is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, where his work focuses on U.S. national security policy in the Middle East and South Asia. The views expressed are his own.

If we've learned one thing about Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's foreign policy views during this campaign, it's that he's heavy on rhetoric and ideology but light on details.

For the past year, Romney has consistently failed to provide a clear alternative to President Obama's foreign policy program that goes beyond vague speechifying about "strength" and "leadership." Throughout the campaign, it became increasingly clear that Romney's rhetoric isn't an attempt to cover up an empty foreign policy agenda - it is the policy agenda.

There is a similarity between Romney's foreign and economic policy packages on this score. As economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote this past week, "the true plan is to provide an economic stimulus in the form of Romney's awesome awesomeness; the cover story is the pretense of having an actual program."

But relying on rhetoric in a debate format is harder to do. That's why I'll be watching closely and keeping track of how much Romney tries to stick to his playbook. Here is a list of catchphrases and buzzwords I'll be looking out for in Monday's debate. The more he uses these phrases, the less likely we'll hear concrete ideas. FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • Analysis • Barack Obama • Romney
My debate checklist: AEI's Danielle Pletka
October 21st, 2012
05:50 PM ET

My debate checklist: AEI's Danielle Pletka

By Danielle Pletka, Special to CNN

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Danielle Pletka is Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. The views expressed are her own.

Fewer and fewer voters rate national security as their top priority in considering how to vote, which begs the question of who will be watching this last presidential debate, since the focus is foreign policy and national security.

Not to worry, the wonks will be out in force, and we'll be looking for a few key things from each candidate.

First, from Mitt Romney:

That vision thing: Romney needs to do more than simply be the un-Obama. We'll be looking for a positive vision that puts some meat on the bones of his call for a new era of American leadership and exceptionalism. Both are fine sentiments, but essentially meaningless without policy to go with them. And in straitened economic times, with a public weary of spending and war, he'll need to make clear that his priorities will keep America safe and strong without breaking the bank or putting more lives on the line. FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • Afghanistan • Analysis • Barack Obama • China • Egypt • Iran • Libya • Middle East • Romney • Syria