NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Monday night will be the last presidential debate, and the last time before President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney will be able to attack each other directly before Election Day.
As CBS 2’s Don Dahler reported, the debate was set to happen as the Obama administration faced new scrutiny over the consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya.
A war of words over foreign policy has been escalating ahead of the debate.
“What happened in Benghazi is a case study in failure at every phase,” said U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
“He said it, and it was an act of terror,” countered U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) “And we were waiting to find out what the real motivation and driving force was behind it.”
Libya, and the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, are likely to dominate the debate. The issue was also addressed toward the end of the Hofstra debate.
But now in the latest revelation, a former CIA commander told CBS News the U.S. had an unmanned drone overhead during the consulate attack.
“They stood and they watched and our people died,” said CIA Cmdr. Gary Berntsen.
But there are plenty of other topics to tackle in the debate, from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Israel, Iran and the changing Middle East.
The candidates are sure to spar over America’s role in the world, the new face of terrorism, and how to deal with a rising China.
The president’s term “Romnesia” could also arrive.
“‘Romnesia’ is a playful term to describe what Mitt Romney is actually doing in the closing days of this race,” said Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter.
But the Romney campaign has not found it funny.
“The very fact the President of the United States has to utter a term like that just is a glaring example of how small the campaign has been,” said Romney campaign senior adviser Kevin Madden.
Sunday was a day at the beach for Romney. The candidate tossed a coin for a flag football game between his staffers and the media.
Meanwhile, Obama spent his day cooped up at Camp David, preparing for the showdown.
CBS News’ Bob Schieffer will be moderating the debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. He said the outcome could determine the race.
“There’s no question this one’s going to be important – maybe as important as any debate – simply because the race is so close,” Schieffer said.
Schieffer was likely Sunday night to rework his questions on Iran.
On Sunday, the White House said it was prepared to talk one-on-one with the country about its nuclear program.
Dahler will be heading to Florida to bring reports from the debate beginning Monday at 5 p.m. The debate begins at 9 p.m. Monday.