9:00 – Bob Schieffer kicking off the third debate, making his opening statement before introducing Obama and Romney.
Schieffer notes that debate is on 50th anniversary of JFK’s address to the nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
9:04 – First question is about Libya.
Romney won the coin toss earlier, so he gets the first question.
Romney reciting list of issues in MENA in aftermath of Arab Spring – Egypt, Libya, Mali, Syria.
Congratulates Obama for getting Osama bin Laden. “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.”
9:07 – Obama response
Notes he ended the war in Iraq.
Re: Libya – Took leadership to organize international coalition to liberate country under yoke of dictatorship for 42 years, for less than cost of 2 weeks in Iraq.
To Romney: “Your strategy has been one that has previously been all over the map.”
Romney: “My strategy is to go after them.”
“We don’t want another Iraq. We don’t want another Afghanistan.”
“Rising tide of chaos” rushing in in the Middle East
Obama: Hits Romney for saying Russia was biggest geopolitical threat. “The Cold War has been over for 20 years.”
“Every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong.”
Romney: “Attacking me is not an agenda.”
Romney and Obama arguing over SOFA in Iraq.
9:16 – Schieffer question about Syria to President Obama… It’s been one year since you told Assad he had to go. 30k Syrians have died, the war goes on. Should we reassess our policy and find better way to influence events there? Is that even possible?
Obama: Doing everything we can to help opposition… Recognize for us to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step. Make sure we know who we’re helping. I am confident that Assad’s days are numbered.
Romney: “We don’t want military involvement. We don’t want to get drawn into a conflict there.”
Romney: “I believe that Assad must go. I believe that he will go.”
Obama praises Romney for supporting operation in Libya, but hits him for “mission creep” comment.
9:23 – Schieffer question: During Egyptian turmoil, there came a point you said time for Mubarak to go. Any regrets about that?
Obama: No I don’t. America has to stand with democracy.
Schieffer question to Romney: Would you have stuck with Mubarak?
Romney: No, I supported the president’s action there.
Romney pivots to the economy, quotes Adm. Mike Mullen saying the deficit is our biggest national security threat.
9:28 – Schieffer question: What is America’s role in the world?
Romney: I absolutely believe America has a responsibility and privilege to defend freedom, make the world more peaceful.
Romney hits Obama for not supporting Green Revolution in Iran.
Obama hits Romney for praising George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Romney pivots to the economy, jobs, small business.
9:38 – Schieffer question to Romney: You want to increase military spending for the Navy. Where are you going to get the money?
Romney: Get rid of ObamaCare. Take program after program that we don’t need and get rid of them.
Obama hits Romney on $5 trillion tax cut and $2 trillion on military spending.
Obama: “The math simply doesn’t work.”
Romney responds by saying he was governor, balanced budgets, ran the Olympics.
Romney talking about size of Navy in 1916. Washington Post factcheck on this talking point here.
Ouch… brutal Obama rebuttal
9:45 – Schieffer question – would either of you be willing to declare an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States?
Obama: “As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.”
Romney: If Israel is attacked, we have their back.
Romney calls for Ahmadinejad to be indicted for his words under the Genocide Convention.
Obama: “We’re not going to allow Iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere.” “That clock is ticking.”
Romney brings up the apology tour…
Obama: “Nothing Governor Romney said was true. This has been the biggest whopper of this campaign.”
Romney: “We are four years closer to a nuclear Iran.”
Romney hits Obama for skipping Israel trip during his tour of the Middle East.
Ouch… Obama hits Romney on Israel trip. – When I went to Israel as a presidential candidate, I didn’t travel with donors and go to fundraisers, which Romney did during his trip earlier this year.
Romney: “I don’t see our influence growing around the world. I see our influence receding.”
Obama: “Governor, the problem is you’ve been all over the map.”
Obama hits Romney for saying in 2007-2008 campaign it wasn’t worth moving heaven and earth to go after Osama bin Laden.
10:04 – Schieffer question: US scheduled to turn over Afghan security in 2014. Key question: what do you do if deadline arrives and it is obvious Afghans unable to handle their security. Do we still leave?
Romney: Warns of dangers of unstable Pakistan with nuclear weapons.
Obama: In position we can transition out. No reason Americans should die when Afghans perfectly capable of taking care of their own country.
Obama: After a decade at war, it’s time to do some nation building here at home.
10:09 – Schieffer: General Allen says Americans continue to die at the hands of groups supported by Pakistan, yet we continue to give Pakistan billions of dollars. Is it time to divorce Pakistan?
Romney: No, it’s not time to divorce Pakistan.
Schieffer: What is your position on use of drones?
Romney: Should use any means to protect our people and allies around the world.
Obama: Notes that his administration supported protest/pro-democratic movements in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.
10:14 – Schieffer pivots to next topic, China.
Obama: China an adversary and also a potential partner in the international community if it plays by the rules
We won just about every case filed against China with the WTO.
Romney criticized me for being too tough, protectionist in that tire case. Those workers don’t feel that way.
Schieffer to Romney: If you declare China a currency manipulator on day one, aren’t you risking a trade war?
Obama hits Rommey: “Governor Romney’s right. You are familiar with jobs shipped overseas…”
Romney: “I would do nothing to hurt the American auto industry.”
10:15 – Still 15 minutes to go in the debate, and the Obama campaign is already declaring victory on its Facebook page.
Obama to Romney re auto bailout: “You keep on trying to airbrush history.”
10:29 – Closing statements, Obama goes first.
Romney giving his closing statement.
10:34 – Game over… Now for the final two-week stretch to the finish line.