Osama bin Laden drew louder cheers at the Democratic National Convention than most of the live speakers. At the Republican Party’s showcase the previous week, Mitt Romney barely touched on foreign policy and didn't once mention the war in Afghanistan.
The scenes underscored the degree to which President Obama has hijacked the GOP’s longtime advantage on foreign affairs and national security. He ended the unpopular war in Iraq, set a deadline for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and sanctioned the killing of the terrorist atop the world’s most-wanted list.
Romney, in contrast, has let his inexperience on the foreign stage show many times. It would seem, then, that president is well positioned heading into Monday’s debate on foreign policy. But Romney is not without ammunition.
Romney is almost certain to press the Benghazi issue again in an attempt to portray Obama as weak and out-of-touch. He is also expected to accuse the president of jeopardizing Israel’s security by allowing Iran to build a nuclear weapon, reacting passively to the violence in Syria, and failing to crack down on China’s unfair trade practices.
In a new poll, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found Obama’s overall advantage in the arena fading. Asked which candidate can do a better job in making foreign-policy decisions, Americans favored Obama over Romney by only 4 percentage points, compared with a 15-point gap in September.
“The president is not coming into this debate in the same position he was a couple months ago on foreign policy,” said Vin Weber, a lobbyist and former Congressman advising the Romney campaign. “His leadership is in question, and there’s a lot of potential for Romney.” Read more
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
New Poll Shows Obama, Romney Tied
[National Journal, 10/21/12] The race between President Obama and Mitt Romney is deadlocked among likely voters in the Nov. 6 general election, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Sunday.
Obama, Romney Cram Foreign Policy For Last Debate
[Associated Press, 10/21/12] Obama and Romney took break from the campaign trail this weekend to prepare for the final presidential debate. It's being held in Boca Raton, Fla., and will focus on foreign policy.
In a Campaign About the Economy, Foreign Policy May Get the Last Word
[National Journal, 10/21/12] It’s no secret that the economy has been the primary topic in the presidential race, but in the home-stretch of a dead-heat match, both campaigns are spending an increasing amount of time debating foreign policy.
Cash Flood Fuels Fight to the End in Leaning States
[The New York Times, 10/21/12] Both presidential campaigns are free to spend as much money in the remaining days until the election as they can raise—likely boosting the number of ads across key battleground states.
Rubio Questions Administration's Honesty on Libya
[National Journal, 10/21/12] Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said on Sunday that it’s fair to question whether the White House suppressed reports detailing the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya because the information was politically inconvenient.
With Romney Closing In, Obama to Launch Swing State Blitz
[Reuters, 10/20/12] Following his final debate on Monday, Obama will launch a six-state, around-the-clock campaigning blitz over two days next week. The president is also traveling to his hometown of Chicago to cast his early ballot, CNN reports.
Ryan Campaigns For Votes in Pa., Ohio Coal Country
[National Journal, 10/20/12] Campaigning in the heart of coal country on Saturday, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan made a direct play for the voters in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. Meanwhile, the Associated Press dug deep into the “War on Coal,” and found the realities are far more pressing than a simple political issue.
Portman: Ohio 'Trend is in Our Direction'
[National Journal, 10/21/12] Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman was optimistic that his home state will back Mitt Romney. “I like what I see, because the trend is in our direction,” he said on Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Priorities USA Will Focus on Romney’s Bain Record in Closing Stretch
[National Journal, 10/21/12] Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama super PAC, will close out the campaign season by going after Romney’s experience at Bain Capital. Reuters reports that Democrats have given “unprecedented” amounts to super PACs in September.
How Romney Tackled Tax Changes
[Wall Street Journal, 10/20/12] The Journal outlines how Romney closed corporate loopholes in the Bay State to raise revenue for the budget. On Sunday, the Romney campaign released an ad touting the Republican’s record in Massachusetts, saying he can change Washington.
Editorial: On the Basis of Sound Leadership, Re-Elect Obama
[Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/20/12] The major Ohio newspaper endorsed President Obama on Saturday. Additionally, Obama received endorsements on Sunday from the Los Angeles Times, the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Arizona Daily Star, among other newspapers.
Editorial: Nevada Needs a Change Now; Elect Mitt Romney President
[Reno Gazette Journal, 10/20/12] The big Silver State newspaper endorsed Romney on Saturday. Also, the New Hampshire Union-Leader, the Columbus Dispatch, the Tampa Tribune, among others, endorsed Romney on Sunday.
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