Debate: Obama Must Shut Door on Romney's Big Lies

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

On Monday, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will square-off in their final debate showdown, in Florida, with two weeks left in the 2012 Presidential Elections.

Will fireworks again erupt in this debate, as it did in the last one—especially, around the foreign policy question regarding what happened at the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya?

Monday’s 90-minute foreign policy debate will be held at Lynn University, in Boca Raton, Florida. CBS’s Bob Schieffer will be sitting in the moderator’s chair. Given the controversy caused over CNN’s Candy Crowley’s instant fact checking of Governor Romney, it will be noteworthy to assess how Mr. Schieffer handles the debates.

Schieffer, a 40-year plus journalism veteran, moderated the final debate between then Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain leading up to the 2008 Presidential Elections. He also moderated the final debate between Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush in 2004.

Since Friday, President Obama has been preparing for the final debate, at Camp David, at Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains. A group of top advisors including: National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, campaign strategist David Axelrod and senior White House advisor David Plouffe all assembled at the presidential retreat in preparation for Monday’s debate. Governor Romney is already in Florida preparing.

Given President Obama’s Tuesday thumping of Governor Romney at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, Monday’s debate may well be another dramatic event. President Obama’s strong performance in rebuking the policies of Governor Romney stood in stark contrast to his feeble showing in the first debate. In Tuesday’s debate, President Obama emerged and exposed Governor Romney as nothing more than an unscrupulous acolyte of big business—a position in diametric opposition to the interests of regular citizens.

President Obama made the case Governor Romney’s policies would paralyze the nation’s slow recovery—a recovery, in my opinion, made much slower by the intransigence of Republicans and their determination, in the words of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell to make President Obama a “one-term president.”

During last Tuesday’s debate, President Obama firmly attacked Governor Romney drawing blood several times, especially on the issue of the Libyan consulate assault and the "47 percent" video. On the latter, the governor opened the door for a powerful closing punch by President Obama, after the governor mendaciously claimed to care about all Americans. However, Governor Romney also exposed himself as nothing more than a wealthy corporate boss who—repeatedly, tried to bully Ms. Crowley and President Obama with rude and condescending interruptions—while evading straight questions.

For example, why couldn’t the good governor answer the fair pay for women question? President Obama reminded the nation the first bill he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which shrunk the pay equity gap for women. Instead of saying he supported pay equity for women Governor Romney talked about, supposedly, trying hard to find qualified women to hire in his administration, while he was Governor of Massachusetts.

To achieve this, he said he amassed “binders full of women.” Didn’t he hire any qualified women in all those years he was Bain Capital’s CEO? There’s no doubt Governor Romney, if he becomes president, will instead be a binder of women. The fact is Governor Romney, and Republicans like his running-mate Paul Ryan, have shown their utter disdain for women’s rights. If Republicans don’t believe in women’s right to have total control over their bodies—while they hypocritically wax eloquent about their passionate advocacy for “small government”—then why would we expect them to support fair pay for women?

The refusal of Governor Romney to answer the pay equity question mirrors the Republican agenda on women issues across the board. The disdain for women by Governor Romney, and his Republican cronies, can be seen in their two-faced approach regarding women’s issues. It’s abundantly clear Republicans want to reverse Roe v Wade, kill Planned Parenthood, kill the use of contraception and abort healthcare initiatives that allow women to make decisions over their body. Given the fact women are the largest demographic unit their vote is a crucial factor in this election. Do women really want a President Romney?

On Monday’s foreign policy debate, another hot topic from last Tuesday’s debate will, surely, arise: what happened at the American Consulate in Benghazi last September 11, when Ambassador J. Chris Stevens, ex-Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, along with Air Force Officer Sean Smith were killed?

Republicans, including California Representative Darrell Issa, have been seeking to exploit the tragedy—especially, since Republicans have been unable to make political inroads against President Obama on foreign policy issues. Yet, it’s highly unlikely Governor Romney will be able to score any points on the Benghazi incident for primarily two reasons. First of all, the vulnerability President Obama has, regarding our imperial intervention in Libya, is not one Republicans can make without looking hypocritical.

Black Star News, and this column space, from the very beginning, has criticized President Obama’s decision to back the violent removal of Libya’s Quathafi Government—unlike, the contrary stance taken in regards to the removal of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak where protesters were warned to remain non-violent. However, given the military posture Republicans usually take—always becoming involved in imperial interventions and invasions—they’re hardly in a position to make arguments against President Obama’s Libya involvement.

Then there’s the ill-timed and tone-deaf response of Governor Romney who decided to put out a partisan press release criticizing President Obama—while the attacks were still in progress. This ill-fated decision allowed President Obama to severely scold Governor Romney for insinuating the White House was involved in a cover-up.

President Obama glared at him and waved his finger—reminding me of former NBA center Dikembe Mutombo’s famous finger-wagging ritual after he blocked somebody’s shot. Mr. Romney was so rattled he proceeded to embarrass himself claiming, wrongly, the president never characterized the Benghazi attack in terms of terror—which lead to Ms. Crowley’s correct fact-checking.

Governor Romney may also pounce on the issues of Iran and Syria. On both of these topics, the president should block him like Vice-President Joe Biden did when he called Congressman Ryan’s bluff—on both America’s Afghanistan and Syrian involvement—when Mr. Biden asked if Republicans preferred to risk more American ground troops , especially, as sanctions are being ratcheted up by American and Western allies.

Governor Romney is also vulnerable on the issue of Israel, especially, after his comments on the infamous "47 percent" video. In regards to Israel, Governor Romney said “These problems—they’re very hard to solve…We have a potentially volatile situation [with Israelis and Palestinians] but we sort of live with it. And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”

President Obama must close the case by arguing this isn’t the kind of leadership America needs in its next White House.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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