With the two candidates running neck-and-neck - a fresh NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows President Obama and Romney tied at 47% -- and just 15 days until Americans cast their ballots for our 45th U.S. president, a stellar showing is imperative. Whoever wins Monday's debate will have the upper hand heading into Election Day.
More than 60 million viewers tuned in to the first two debates which dealt with jobs, healthcare, the economy, and taxes. Romney handily won the first debate in Denver on Oct. 3 and charmed hordes of undecided voters. Then the president, who appeared glum and uninterested the first time around, came on strong in the second debate Oct. 16.
Monday's debate will be focused on foreign policy and national security. Divided into six segments, President Obama and Romney will discuss America's position as a global leader, the Afghanistan war, the Middle East, Israel and Iran, and China's explosive rise.
President Obama, as head of U.S. national security for the last four years, has experience Romney can't rival. The president will underscore how under his term he was instrumental in the mission that led to the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. He will also note that he pulled troops from Iraq.
Romney has his work cut out for him.
His summer trips to London, Jerusalem and Poland were highlighted by several gaffes. The former Massachusetts governor needs to assure voters that he is a capable leader in the global arena by highlighting his leadership abilities.
"Many voters are ready to fire President Obama if they see Romney as an acceptable alternative. Foreign policy has not been a big driver of this campaign but I think Romney could add some icing to his cake if people say, "Hey, this guy is on top of world affairs,'" David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Center at Southern Illinois University told Reuters.