OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Romney plans foreign policy speech

Obama sort of homed in on the same idea early in the debate, when he went after Romney’s plan to boost military spending by $2 trillion over the next decade. Obama used the line as part of his attack on Romney’s tax plan, but Romney pushed back only on taxes, ignoring the president’s military comments.

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Things will change in the third debate, on Oct. 22, which will be specifically focused on foreign policy and national security.

Romney’s speech on Monday at the Virginia Military Institute will give him a chance to get out ahead of the foreign policy debate. Romney’s campaign said the speech will offer a “stark contrast” on foreign policy.

Obama has been seen as a stronger candidate on the “commander in chief” question throughout much of the campaign, but last month’s attack in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens — along with the administration’s shifting story about what happened — has opened up a new line of attack for Romney. You can bet Libya will play heavily in Monday’s speech.

Defense group strikes back: A liberal defense think tank wasn’t letting Romney bask in his crowd-pleasing performance during the debate for long. On Thursday, the Truman National Security Project released the first in a series of ads showing U.S. veterans slamming Romney's national security and foreign policy credentials. 

The first ad, dubbed "Commander in Chief,” features veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars openly questioning whether Romney was ready to face the looming security threats in a post-9/11 world. Other veterans in the ad chastise the GOP hopeful for omitting Afghanistan during his speech accepting the Republican nomination. "We deserve a commander in chief that understands what's at stake," Army veteran Kevin Johnson said in the ad. 

The group's communications director, Dave Solimin said that the ads were “well-timed” to Romney’s foreign policy address Monday.

Pentagon flies from Big Bird questions: The Pentagon’s chief spokesman George Little did his best to stay out of the Big Bird debate that was sparked by Mitt Romney’s comments that he loved Big Bird, but would stop federal funding to PBS.

At a Pentagon news conference Thursday, Little was asked about the Defense Department’s relationship with Sesame Street to help children in military families, and if the Pentagon wanted to continue that relationship.

The Pentagon spokesman did his best to walk the line. Without discussing “recent references in high-profile settings to Sesame Street,” Little said, DOD has “a long-lasting and effective partnership with Sesame Street. They have supported military children.”

“But I'm not going to get into politics here,” he continued setting up a pun: “I wouldn't want to ruffle any feathers, so to speak.”

Pressed further, Little had one more line up his sleeve: “We do have big birds, but I'm not going to comment on Big Bird.”

Security scrutinized: The White House has taken a lot of flak over its handling of the terrorist attack against the U.S. Consulate in Libya. From inadequate security concerns to the administration’s changing story on the events that took place that night in Benghazi, Republicans have had a field day at President Obama's expense. On Thursday, officials from DOD, State and the Justice Department announced they would try and set the record straight. 

All three departments have begun an interagency review of the security measures in place at the consulate the night of the assault, Little said Thursday. The review is not an official DOD investigation or inquiry into security measures, or lack thereof, in place at the consulate during the terrorist strike. 

"I would call it an internal look at anything that we may have done with respect to security in Libya," Little said. DOD is still coordinating the effort inside the Pentagon, and has not yet named which department agency or official would head up the review, he said. 

The Obama administration has drawn heavy fire from administration critics over the lack of security at the Benghazi outpost. "It's pretty obvious they did not have adequate security," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said after a classified briefing on the consulate attack by State, DOD and intelligence officials on Capitol Hill last month. 


In Case You Missed It:

— Drone strike in Yemen kills five

— FBI agents reach Benghazi

— King criticizes Thomson prison purchase

— Gates warns against strike on Iran

— Turkey authorizes strike on Syria


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