Next up: foreign policy

The Barack Obama-Mitt Romney trilogy comes to an end tonight as the two contenders for the presidency of the United States square off in their third debate.

Foreign policy is tonight’s topic. The candidates — Obama, the Democratic incumbent and Romney, the Republican challenger — discussed domestic policy in their first debate and covered a wide range of topics in their town hall encounter in their second debate. This time, we’ll be hearing them talk about issues beyond our shores.

PBS is among the many networks airing the debate, which will occur on the campus of Lynn College in Boca Raton, Fla. The debate will air locally on KACV-TV beginning at 8 p.m.

This final joint appearance is being billed as possibly the decisive event of a see-saw presidential campaign. The race is now virtually tied. Polls have been showing wild swings in both men’s directions, with poll averages now showing a statistical dead heat. And, yes, some analysts are now talking openly about the possibility of one candidate getting more popular votes than the other guy, but losing the election on the basis of the Electoral College tally — a la Bush v. Gore in 2000.

It’s the closeness of this contest that should compel viewers to tune in tonight to listen to these candidates’ views on foreign policy.

How would they maintain U.S. strength around the world? What role should diplomacy play in settling international disputes? Are we safer now than we were prior to 9/11?

Romney was declared the winner of Debate One. Obama came out the victor in Debate Two. Tonight is the rubber match — and it might well serve as a fitting metaphor for how this campaign will play out on Election Day.

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