- By Uri Friedman
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.
On Friday, FP reached out to readers, contributors, and outside experts to brainstorm questions for Bob Schieffer as he prepared to moderate the foreign-policy debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. We came up with 55 — just enough for Schieffer to ask in the fastest and most substantive lightning round in debate history. So how many of our questions — broadly defined — did Schieffer end up asking last night?
By my count, seven out of 55:
- Newt Gingrich’s question about how the candidates would respond to an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities (Romney said he didn’t want to "go into hypotheticals" but added that his relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu was so strong that the Israeli prime minister would keep him in the loop about a bombing raid before it was underway)
- Karl Eikenberry’s question about what the greatest threat facing the United States is (Obama said "terrorist networks" while Romney said a "nuclear Iran")
- C. Christine Fair’s question about how Obama and Romney would assess the Pakistani threat (or, as Schieffer put it, "Is it time for us to divorce Pakistan?")
- Daniel Drezner’s question about what explained the administration’s shifting position on Libya (Schieffer focused more on the attack itself but also asked whether there was an "attempt to mislead people about what really happened," and Romney surprisingly decided not to attack Obama on the issue like he has in the past)
- Kenneth Roth’s question about drones (Roth asked whether Obama would be comfortable bequeathing the power to order drone strikes to Romney, while Schieffer asked about Romney’s position on drones)
- Daniel Drezner and Jamie Fly’s questions about the goals surrounding the Afghan withdrawal (Schieffer asked what would happen if the withdrawal deadline arrives and the Afghans are unable to handle their own security)
Not bad! Sadly, however, Schieffer decided to pass on Joseph Nye’s question about how Romney could champion American soft power while attacking Big Bird. Too bad there are no more debates.