If tonight’s third and final presidential debate is the political equivalent of Monday Night Football, rather than run interference for President Obama as CNN’s Candy Crowley did last week — and to a lesser extent ABC’s Martha Raddatz did earlier for Vice President Joe Biden — CBS’s Bob Schieffer should block and tackle Obama. Here are five questions Schieffer should ask in the foreign-policy debate (and which GOP rival Mitt Romney should if Schieffer doesn’t):
1.) Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, one of the four Americans killed in the September 11 terrorist assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, has complained bitterly in TV interviews that she still hasn’t been told exactly how her son died, even after you promised her she would be. Why has she not been told? What is the hold-up? Doesn’t she deserve an answer?
2.) Early on in your administration, secretary of state Hillary Clinton proclaimed a “reset” in relations with Russia, yet Moscow has continued to vote against U.S. interests at almost every turn at the U.N. and continues to support the Assad regime in Syria. What exactly do we have to show for Mrs. Clinton’s much-heralded “reset” of relations with Moscow?
3.) What exactly did you mean, Mr. President, when you told Russia’s then-president Dmitri Medvedev that you would have “more flexibility” to negotiate on missile defense and other issues (and asking Russian President Vladimir Putin to give you “more space”) until after you are reelected?
4.) The Government Accountability Office is reportedly working on a report identifying “policies, plans and procedures” for transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay and exploring Defense and Justice Department “facilities in the United States that are most likely to meet the requirements for housing Guantanamo Bay detainees.” The acquisition by the federal government of a vacant state prison in Illinois was said to be for that express purpose. Is it your intention in your second term to close Gitmo and move the detainees to Illinois, and by extension, to try them in U.S. civilian courts?
5.) The earliest manifestation of the Arab Spring was the Green Revolution uprisings in Iran in 2009. It was reported in some circles at the time that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad and the mullahs were so fearful that the end was near that they were prepared to flee the country. If that’s true, we could have helped oust the theocracy by supporting the people in the streets, but didn’t. Your administration actively supported the ouster of the Mubarak regime in Egypt and bombed Libya till Qaddafi was overthrown, so why did we not also support the fall of the mullahs in Iran?
— Peter Parisi is an editor at the Washington Times.