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What to watch for in tonight's debate, according to Time and CNN

Published: Monday, Oct. 22 2012 3:30 p.m. MDT

October 2012, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, participate in the second presidential debate, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Tonight's third debate isn't expected to be as heated as the last debate, according to CNN. (Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press) October 2012, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, participate in the second presidential debate, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Tonight's third debate isn't expected to be as heated as the last debate, according to CNN. (Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press)

The third and final presidential debate hits tonight with a last chance from President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney trying to sway U.S. voters' decisions for Election Day. The focus is foreign policy. However national news outlets Time and CNN differ on what is more important to watch for.

Jay Newton-Small, from Time, writes that viewers should focus on the candidates' talk on how the war in Afghanistan will end and Iran's nuclear program.

"Romney has long argued that he would've been tougher on Iran and nicer to Israel if he'd been president these last four years," according to the article. "Obama, on the other hand, says that without his willingness to directly engage with Iran – and their refusal to take up that offer – he'd have never have been able to impose such crippling sanctions."

The debate tonight should also address trade with China, according to Time.

Despite talks about foreign policy, the CNN article said to watch for Obama bringing up abortion or contraception. And both candidates will opt to talk about the economy.

Another issue that isn't on the agenda but believed to be addressed is the Eurozone crisis – since it has great affect on the U.S. economy, according to Time.

CNN journalists Peter Hamby and Paul Steinauser said a turning point on Election Day would be how the president handles questions about al-Qaida, if it is brought up.

"The administration has been reluctant to discuss drone strikes, but top intelligence officials have defended the actions as legal, meticulously plotted and designed to avoid innocent casualties," according to the CNN article.

One topic both news groups agree on is how much the candidates know about the recent deadly consulate attack in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Romney's arguments against Obama not calling the Bengahzi attack an "act of terror" were challenged in last week's debate after debate moderator, Candy Crowley, from CNN agreed with Obama.

"In Monday's debate, Romney must find a convincing way to make his case, especially since it has emerged in the last week that there had actually been a protest in the area and that initial intelligence reports from Benghazi cited a protest as the inciting incident," said Newton-Small from Time.

Romney knows more about Libya than what he's leading on, wrote the CNN journalists.

"Don't forget: Romney has been receiving briefings from the U.S. intelligence community since Sept. 16, as it's customary for a presidential challenger in the final stages of a campaign," according to the CNN article.

Email: ehong@desnews.com Twitter: @erinhong

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