The final debate between President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney Monday in Florida faces some stiff sports competition: football and baseball.
The debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton must go against ESPN's Monday Night Football game featuring the NFC North Division rivals Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears, as well as the decisive Game 7 between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants in baseball's National League Championship Series.
The competing sports events may well siphon off ratings for the debate on foreign policy, USA Today reported.
The first Obama-Romney debate Oct. 3 drew 67.2 million views, Nielsen ratings indicated, while the second faceoff had 65.6 million television viewers.
Obama departed Washington for Florida at mid-morning Monday, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and red tie.
Romney was prepping for the debate at a hotel near the Lynn University campus in Florida, considered a battleground state.
Romney adviser Dan Sensor said the Republican challenger planned to leave behind the in-your-face strategy from last week's town hall debate at Hoftra University in favor of a calmer demeanor so viewers could envision him as president, CNN said.
"I think this is a real opportunity for Governor Romney to present some of his ideas, present his critique of the president's foreign policy and where we are in the world," Senor told CNN. "It's not so much point-for-point in terms of how he would handle this tactical issue versus how the president has handled that tactical issue."
To overcome his lack of foreign policy experience, Sensor said, Romney will play up his experience as a chief executive officer with a history of turning around "messy situations" and "complicated organizations."
Sensor said Romney also will try to steer foreign policy into a discussion on the issue voters say they care about most: the U.S. economy.
"I think it's important for us to take a step back and recognize that what America does abroad is connected to what America does at home and vice versa," Senor said. "I think you're going to see Governor Romney talking about that. It's talking about how America's ability to lead abroad and have a strong position abroad is right now limited, is inhibited by the terrible economic situation we're in today at home."
The 90-minute debate will be moderated by Bob Schieffer, host of CBS News' "Face the Nation."
Schieffer said topics would include America's role in the world, the war in Afghanistan, managing the nuclear crisis with Iran and the resultant tensions with Israel, and how to deal with the rise of China.
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