So I don't think it was setting a trap for Romney in that first debate, @JD. I think it was a case of a president who misread the moment and has paid for it by helping his opponent achieve something akin to presidential stature on the same stage.
Topics that could change: America's role in the world
Our longest war - Afghanistan and Pakistan
Red Lines - Israel and Iran
The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism - I
The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism - II
The Rise of China and Tomorrow's World
Thanks, Clint! Fixing that now.
@JD, Glad to be of service. The Lincoln-Douglas debates are indeed great reading. Now, the best Democratic and Republican debaters of the last 40 years. The Democrat is easy. Bill Clinton, hands down. He relished debates. It's easier to be good when you're doing something you enjoy. Clinton was the arch persuader who loved language and maintained his folksiness despite having one of the most elite educational careers of any 20th Century president -- Georgetown, Oxford, Yale. The Republican is actually easy, too, come to think of it. Ronald Reagan. He connected with voters, spoke very directly, and except for that disastrous 1984 debate with Mondale, usually was on top of his game.
@km, I bet Romney won't bring up the Churchill bust. Too much else to cover tonight. Also, it's pretty small beer. And, lastly, Obama merely returned the Churchill bust in the Oval Office which had been on loan from the British. There is actually another Churchill bust in the family residence part of the White House.
@Betsy, That was from the homepage to this chat. If you're looking for a play button for the audio stream, you'll see that at 9 p.m. ET when the NPR live stream begins.
@do_unto_others: We will always have more comments coming into the queue than we'll be able to use. Often times comments are duplicative, or not on the topic that is currently being discussed. We do our best to bring many comments in, but we will never be able to bring all of them, but we do want you to keep the comments coming! We are trying to make sure this chat is good to participate in and to read, as well.
A likely big question tonight: Is China manipulating its currency’s value to make its goods cheaper in the U.S. market? Romney has called China "a currency manipulator."
The IMF, as well as private economists, say China’s currency, the yuan, is indeed undervalued by some 30- to 50- percent. But that’s been true since the mid-1990s. Obama said China’s “currency has actually gone up 11 percent since I've been president because we have pushed them hard.”
@ Andrew Anderson: If they break the rules, then Bob Schieffer takes away 10 electoral votes from their final total. No, not really. What really happens? Basically nothing.
The politics of the currency issue can get complicated. A year ago, the Senate passed a bill, sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, intended to end currency exchange rate intervention by China. It passed 63-35 on a bi-partisan vote, but the GOP-controlled House has been blocked it since then.
@JD: China seems to have gotten used to being a target in the U.S. presidential campaign. But what's different this time is China is about to go through a once-a-decade leadership change. So there is a risk that a new relationship could get off to a rocky start.