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2012 presidential debates

With the 2012 presidential election just around the corner, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are meeting in three debates to try to articulate their visions for creating jobs, leading the U.S. toward broad and strong economic growth and enhancing American leadership in a turbulent world. Joe Biden and Paul Ryan meet on Oct. 11 for one highly anticipated vice presidential debate before the Nov. 6 election. Throughout it all, AEI’s scholars offer their perspectives on the state of America and the choices that will determine our future.

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President Obama talks with Lt. Gen. Doug Lute, Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for South Asia, left, and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon in the Oval Office, Nov. 13, 2012.

Although foreign policy issues were noticeable largely by their absence from the 2012 political debates, global risks and challenges to America have not disappeared.  In fact, with Barack Obama now safely past his last encounter with voters, it is entirely predictable that the scope and pace of national security threats to the United States are likely to increase substantially.

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The guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) approaches a pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The Crommelin is scheduled to be decommissioned Oct. 26, 2012.

In the third and final debate, Barack Obama scored huge points with the media, college kids, and die-hard liberals — in other words, his base — when he mocked Mitt Romney’s concern about our historically small Navy.

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U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their state dinner at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi November 8, 2010.

If you were expecting Monday night’s foreign policy debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to highlight the importance of America’s relations with the world’s largest democracy, you were in for a rude surprise.

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Watching last night’s “foreign policy” debate was like looking at Ptolemy’s map of the ancient world: Levant, Levant, Levant.

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U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama speak at the same time as moderator Bob Schieffer (C) listens during the final U.S. presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida, October 22, 2012.

If what you care about is foreign policy and you tuned in tonight, you may have been a tad disappointed by the focus on car tires and teachers and by Barack Obama’s rather robotic insistence on “nation building here at home.”

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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally with vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan at a Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Morrison, Colorado October 23, 2012.

Most voters dislike Obama’s domestic policies and are dissatisfied with the sluggish economy. And now they seem to believe have an alternative with presidential stature.

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Bottom line: Obama cannot afford another draw. In this third and final debate, a tie goes to the challenger. Which means Obama will, in all likelihood, be going for a knockout tonight — and that means the sparks could fly.

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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) listens to U.S. President Barack Obama during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.

The president’s debate claim was false, but more sinister is that it betrays his inability to perceive the failure of his Libya policy.

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Members of the media watch the presidential debates in the press room at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire January 7, 2012.

Fact-checkers from Politifact, FactCheck.org, and The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog were out in force after the first two debates as they have been for much of the 2012 campaign season. Do Americans want journalists to assess the accuracy of debate claims, candidate speeches and TV ads?

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