By Adam Levine, CNN
Foreign policy will get increased attention in the two debates left between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, with the final debate set to be entirely devoted to the subject.
The slugfest between the vice presidential candidates highlighted the toughest challenge for the Republican ticket, namely how to differentiate from Obama administration policies. The vice presidential debate left a number of questions unanswered about how each side distinguishes itself when it comes to national security.
Here's a look at a few of those issues.
By Kevin Liptak
The assault on an American diplomatic post in Libya that left four Americans dead provided surrogates for both presidential candidates with fodder for political attacks Sunday, two days ahead of a critical debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
On CNN's "State of the Union," Romney adviser Ed Gillespie echoed an attack line the GOP nominee delivered last week, insisting that Vice President Joe Biden's assertions at the vice-presidential debate didn't match congressional testimony from State Department officials.
"Vice President Biden directly contradicted the sworn testimony of the State Department in the debate the other night. That led to another round of kind of nuancing by the White House," Gillespie said, adding: "There are inconsistencies here, and I think as Americans we deserve to know what really happened going into this attack."
Robert Gibbs, also speaking with CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on "State of the Union," rejected the Republican criticism of the Obama administration, saying the president's rivals were seeking political gain from the national tragedy.
"We don't need wing-tipped cowboys or shoot-from-the-hip diplomacy," Gibbs said, pointing to widespread criticism of Romney's initial response to the attack in Libya, as well as a protest at the American Embassy in Cairo that occurred the same day.
Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan, the man who wants his job, exchanged fire regarding national security in their only debate before Election Day. They challenged each other's facts and claims and offered starkly different visions for the direction of the country. CNN conducted fact checks on each politician’s assertions.
CNN Fact Check: What about the security in Benghazi?
The September attack that killed four Americans at a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya was the subject of a few claims at Thursday night's vice presidential debate at Centre College in Kentucky.
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan contended that requests for more security at the mission were denied before the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, on September 11.
Vice President Joe Biden said Ryan is in no position to argue about diplomatic security, arguing that Ryan, in Congress, didn't provide all the embassy security funding that the Obama administration asked for. Biden also contended that the administration knew of no requests for more security at the Benghazi mission.
We'll look at these claims separately.
CNN Fact Check: Iran and the Bomb
Fears of a possibly nuclear-armed Iran took center stage early in Thursday night's vice presidential debate between incumbent Democrat Joe Biden and his Republican challenger, Paul Ryan.
The Wisconsin congressman said Iran's progress has sped along "because this administration has no credibility on this issue."
Biden hit back by criticizing what he called "bluster" and "loose talk" about the issue, saying international sanctions are crippling the Iranian economy and that U.S. and Israeli officials believe Iran is "a good way away" from getting the bomb.
We’ll look at the facts.
By Jamie Crawford
As the chief architect of the Republican budget plan, presidential nominee Mitt Romney's choice for vice president, Paul Ryan, is well-known in budget policy circles around Washington, but his 14 years on Capitol Hill have left a much smaller paper trail when it comes to foreign policy statements and achievements.
That said, Ryan's focus during his seven terms in Congress on balancing the federal budget and extolling the virtues of fiscal restraint seems to have also formed the center of his thinking on foreign policy issues, which seems to hue to the classic Republican view of the world.
"If there's one thing I could say with complete confidence about American foreign policy, it is this: Our fiscal policy and our foreign policy are on a collision course; and if we fail to put our budget on a sustainable path, then we are choosing decline as a world power," he said last year when he gave a speech on American foreign policy at the Alexander Hamilton Society in Washington.