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Opinion: Romney Must Answer Tough Questions On His Questionable Foreign Practices In Debate Tonight

The Buck Starts Here

Once again, a presidential race hinges on what happens in Florida.

For tonight, however, it is not about Florida’s votes.

Tonight's debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, is the third and final meeting between the candidates and the focus tonight is on foreign policy and national security.

You can expect part of the night to focus on the Middle East with specific focus on the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, the civil war in Syria, Iran's nuclear program and Mitt Romney's interest in putting more troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

President Obama gave a brief preview of the debate on Saturday night when he gave the "spoiler alert" for the debate: "we got Bin Laden."

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Expect a testy exchange given that when then-candidate Obama said if he had the intelligence that Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan he would use U.S. resources to take him out. Mitt Romney criticized that specific commitment during the 2008 Presidential race saying he would do no such thing.

In behavior that is typical to Mitt Romney, since the successful operation by U.S. forces Romney has tried to deny his words.

President Obama is no doubt prepared for Romney to suffer yet another attack of what the president has termed "Romnesia" – the particular inability of Mitt Romney to stand by, or even remember, things that he has said in the past.

Russia and China will undoubtedly come up. Given Romney's cigarette business ties to Russia and his outsourcing of jobs to China, the topic of Romney's record at Bain will be a part of those conversations.

A larger question that should be posed to Mitt Romney is the question of his secret foreign income. Each year Mitt Romney makes millions of dollars in foreign income – but the voters have no idea where or how he makes that money and what policy issues Romney has a financial interest.

It was only recently disclosed that Romney and Bain helped American British Tobacco into the Russian market, for example.

It is unprecedented for a presidential candidate to have so many conflicts when it comes to foreign business ties.

China's official news agency recently expressed surprise that Romney is so critical of Chinese business practices when he so greatly profited from them.

The same can be said about the millionaires that are investing in Republican SuperPACs. They not only profit heavily from outsourcing and other job killing activities, but several of the largest donors – including casino owners and WalMart owners – are accused of overseas bribery. Romney's treatment of these types of crimes and his close association with those accused of the practice are important questions when it comes to American economic security.

Romney should also be asked a more over arching question about his patriotism and his banking in tax havens that help shield him from paying taxes.

No one has reminded Mitt Romney that when America was running massive national debts and trying to fight a war on terror he should have perhaps stopped hiding his money overseas and been a little more patriotic and a little less self absorbed and greedy.

Tonight is the night for such questions.

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.


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