5 Things to Watch for in the Final Presidential Debate

Watch the debate and join our live Twitter party with iVillage Chief Correspondent Kelly Wallace and our iVoices October 22 from 9-10:30 PM EST

It’s pretty clear by now that debates matter -- and matter a lot. More than 65 million tuned into the last one! The final presidential debate of this election airs Monday at 9 PM ET from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, and will be moderated by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Be sure to join iVillage’s live Twitter party, hosted by iVillage Chief Correspondent Kelly Wallace and featuring our iVoices, during the debate to respond to the candidates’ performance and chime in on what matters to you as a voter. Follow along with @iVillage using the hashtag #ivillagedebate.

What should we expect from this foreign policy-centered discussion? Check out the five things we are most curious about below:

Who will come out ahead on the Libya issue?

Mitt Romney has criticized President Barack Obama’s handling of a deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya on September 11, in which a U.S. ambassador was killed, alleging the present misled the American people after bungling the response. In the second debate, moderator Candy Crowley fact-checked Romney live on-air after he made claims that Obama did not immediately refer to the tragedy as terrorism. Watch for the hot-button issue to get major play in the third debate, which is all about foreign policy.

How will moderator Bob Schieffer do?

Much has been made of the performances of the moderators thus far. Jim Leherer was widely seen to have been impotent in steering the first debate, whereas Martha Raddatz of ABC News and Candy Crowley of CNN were lauded for their handling of the vice presidential debate and the second presidential debates, respectively (although Crowley’s performance was not without controversy). Schieffer’s role will be scrutinized closely.

How will the candidates fare in the so-called “optics” category?

By now it’s clear that the content of the discussion in the debates is only a part of what matters to voters -- a small part, some would say. The combination of things like body language, visible responses to the foe’s remarks, aggression versus passivity, and perceived comfort on the stage all matter in a major way. The candidate who wins that battle may likely take the debate.

How will Osama Bin Laden play in?

The killing of Osama Bin Laden during a precisely executed raid on his Pakistani compound might be viewed as Obama’s trump card. (Remember the “General Motors is alive and Osama Bin Laden is dead” rallying cry?) So it will be notable to watch how the president promotes that achievement of his first term and how Romney will work to mitigate its significance.

Will there be any “binders full of women” moments?

Like Romney’s remarks about Big Bird in the first presidential debate, his comments about “binders full of women” lit up the Twittersphere and dominated the online conversation during and after the second debate. Will either candidate utter words that do the same for the final debate? In this era of memes, it seems people are hungry for it.

So what are you most hoping to see on Monday night? Watch with us at 9 PM and join our live Twitter party with iVillage Chief Correspondent Kelly Wallace and our iVoices at @iVillage using the hashtag #ivillagedebate.

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the Chief Election News Blogger for iVillage. Follow her on Twitter: @alicedubin.

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