Polls Tilt Toward Romney – According to a new Politico poll, Mitt Romney has taken a 49-47 lead in the national race, and in the 10 key battleground states, he leads 50-48. Women voters have propelled Romney's surge. Obama's 11-point advantage a week ago among women has shrunk to 6 points (51 to 45). Romney leads by 10 points among men.
One Final Debate – President Obama and Mitt Romney square off in their third and final presidential debate tonight at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, to begin at 9:00 p.m. The debate will be focused on foreign policy. Format: Six 15-minute segments, each of which will focus on a different topic (not necessarily in this order): "America's role in the world," "Our longest war - Afghanistan and Pakistan," "Red lines: Israel and Iran," "The changing Middle East," "New face of terrorism," and "The rise of China and tomorrow's world." The moderator will be CBS' Bob Schieffer, who will open each segment with a question. Each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Following those responses, the moderator will use the remainder of the 15-minute segment to facilitate a discussion on the topic. Debate cheat sheet here.
Pre-Debate Polls – Going into the debate, Obama leads Romney by nine points on who will better handle foreign policy (51-42). Romney leads when it comes to who will better handle the economy (51-45).
Expectations for Romney – Top Romney advisers say it will be near-impossible for Romney to win tonight's debate. (via Politico) "Romney's top advisers authentically worry that the swing voters they need to woo care little about foreign affairs right now," Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei note. "And, even if they did, the differences between the two men on many of the highest-profile issues - ending the Afghan war and the bloodshed in Syria - are too slight to draw sharp distinctions. Even if Romney does bring his A game, Obama joked last week about his debate strategy for winning the showdown in Florida: 'Spoiler alert: We got bin Laden.' ... The hope inside the campaign is that Romney will emerge in no worse position, advisers said." BUT WILL IT MATTER? Vin Weber, the Romney campaign's special adviser on policy, said, "The candidates are close, and the economy is the Number One issue. Foreign policy is really important, but it is not driving this election." A top Republican official added: 'I don't think there are a lot of soft voters who are waiting to hear a position on the Eurozone."
The Message Romney Will Drive Home – "Governor Romney will present an optimistic vision of America's role in the world. Voters will have the opportunity to hear how Governor Romney will lead the United States - because we can't afford four more years of President Obama leading from behind. Under President Obama, Iran is closer to a nuclear weapons capability than ever before, our relations with Israel have been downgraded, the 'reset' with Russia has failed to generate more cooperation, and our military is threatened with $1 trillion in devastating budget cuts. Under Mitt Romney's leadership, no friend of America will question our commitment to support them, no enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to defeat them, and no one anywhere - friend or foe - will doubt America's capability to back up our words."
For Obama, Attention Turns to Iran – Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that the U.S. and Iran have agreed "in principle" to have direct, one-on-one talks after the election. Both the Obama administration and the Iranian government have denied the agreement in public. What Obama Will Say About Iran: "I have put in place crippling sanctions. Just in the last month, you've seen their oil revenues collapse, their currency collapse. I've said I'd do everything I have to, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Governor Romney has been unable to articulate any policy ideas that I'm not already doing, except go to war. The story itself [New York Times report of a U.S.-Iran agreement, not just an opening] isn't true. But if Iran is pressured to come back to the table, that's an opportunity. And we should have a conversation. It would be irresponsible, frankly, to reject it. Because your only other option is military."
Where to Watch the Debate – PolicyMic Pundit Edward Williams will be reporting live from Lynn University, bringing us interviews with decision-makers, live analysis, and high-quality reporting. Over 100 pundits stationed in countries across the world, along with our editors, will be live blogging the debate and providing real-time coverage and reactions to the debate. PolicyMic will be streaming the debate live on our homepage. Coverage will begin at 7:00 p.m. Stay tuned!
George McGovern, Champion of Progressive Causes, Dies Sunday – Former US Senator George McGovern, who won the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1972 as a leading opponent of the war in Vietnam and a champion of progressive causes, died early Sunday in Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 90. The McGovern family issued this statement: "At approximately 5:15 am CT [6:15 AM ET] this morning, our wonderful father, George McGovern passed away peacefully at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, surrounded by our family and life-long friends. We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace. He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer."
iPad Mini Comes to Life – Apple is widely expected to announce the release of the iPad mini at a much-hyped press event tomorrow, to be held at 10:00 a.m. PST. Full preview of what could be in store.
Lance Armstrong Stripped of 7 Tour de France Titles – (via Washington Post) “Forget the seven Tour de France victories. Forget the yellow jersey celebrations on the Champs Elysees. Forget the name that dominated the sport of cycling for so many years. As far as cycling’s governing body is concerned, Lance Armstrong is out of the record books. Once considered the greatest rider in Tour history, the American was cast out Monday by his sport, formally stripped of his seven titles and banned for life for his involvement in what U.S. sports authorities describe as a massive doping program that tainted all of his greatest triumphs. “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling,” said Pat McQuaid, the president said of the International Cycling Union. “This is a landmark day for cycling.”
Top PolicyMic Stories – Presidential Debate Predictions: What to Watch for During the Foreign Policy Debate (Seth Fraser) – Finally, the third and final installment of the presidential debates will commence in Boca Raton, Florida. So what should we expect to get out of the debate, other than a bad hangover?
U.S. and Iran Deny Bilateral Meeting (Danielle Gram) – The White House and Tehran have both denied a NYT report that the two countries agreed to enter bilateral discussion following the presidential election.
Apple Poised to Take Over the E-Reader Market with iPad Mini (Anna Stolitzka) – Rumors indicate that Apple will introduce the Apple iPad mini tomorrow. The product's success hinges on costs and integration with the iBookstore application.
Manufactured Obama "Not Optimal" Gaffe Distracts From Escalating Drone War (Gregor Nazarian) – The question of whether the president is callous about human lives should center on drone warfare, not Benghazi.
What we’re reading – Missouri pastor's fiery speech against equal rights for homosexuals has stunning twist ending (Gawker); Interracial marriage and the postracial elite (Esquire); America's newest billionaire: Chobani yogurt's CEO (Yahoo, tip-off Samir Kapadia); 20 incredibly bizarre vintage Halloween costumes (Flavorwire); Race-themed events at colleges [Trigger Warning] (The Society Pages); Kim Jong Il's grandson gives rare TV interview (WSJ); The New Yorker's endorsement of Barack Obama (The New Yorker); When you pin sweaty dudes to a mat for a living, being an LGBT ally kind of makes perfect sense (Upworthy).