SHOTLIST:

AP - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Boca Raton, Florida - October 22, 2012

1. SOUNDBITE: Sen. John McCain/(R) Arizona

Reporter: talk to us about the tone, what do you expect tonight?

"I think it will probably be better tonight because I don't it worked with the American people last time. So i'd expect it to be a better tone."

"I think the governor will try to make the case that there's been a story of failed leadership as far as foreign service is concerned. i think he certainly has a lot of ammunition and i'm sure he'll do it well. But also i think mitt romney will be talking about his vision of america's role in the world and that does not mean sending troops everywhere. That doesn't mean we're going to fight every fight. What it does mean is what ronald reagan used to articulate so well, peace through strength."

"i think that all americans give the president credit for the elimination of osama bin laden. And then he should take credit for the failure throughout the middle east. Al-qaida is on the return, al-qaida is resurging throughout iraq, afghanistan, all of north africa, libya, mali, iran. They're returning because we're weak. He overruled his military advisers time after time in afghanistan. And we're failing there. In iraq, everything is unraveling there."

"i think he's projected a position of weakness and position of lack of leadership, as he calls it leading from behind. How do you justify over 30,000 people being massacred in syria and i've heard him speak up on their behalf once. Once. While arms are pouring in from the russians, iranians are there on the ground. And what has this administration done? Absolutely nothing. And just as many of us predicted, it's beginning to spill over into lebanon, jordan, the other countries in the region. And we are on the verge of a serious crisis. On the libya thing, it's either absolute and total incompetence or willfully deceiving the american people. Both of those are absolutely unacceptable. We know that this was not a spontaneous demonstration, we know that it was not fueled by a hateful video. It was an al-qaida affiliated group that had attacked our consulate twice before. How he thinks he can fool the american people on this one i don't know."

STORYLINE:

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have toured the site of tonight's debate in Florida.

Ahead of the debate, Republican John McCain told reporters he expects the tone to be "better tonight because I don't it worked with the American people last time. So i'd expect it to be a better tone."

The 90-minute faceoff at Lynn University in Boca Raton will focus on foreign policy, a topic that's been largely overshadowed during the campaign by concerns about the domestic economy.

McCain said President Obama "projected a position of weakness and position of lack of leadership, as he calls it leading from behind. How do you justify over 30,000 people being massacred in syria and i've heard him speak up on their behalf once. Once. While arms are pouring in from the russians, iranians are there on the ground. And what has this administration done? Absolutely nothing. And just as many of us predicted, it's beginning to spill over into lebanon, jordan, the other countries in the region. And we are on the verge of a serious crisis."

The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has become a major issue in the presidential campaign, focused on the evolving Obama administration explanations.

McCain told reporters "it's either absolute and total incompetence or willfully deceiving the american people. Both of those are absolutely unacceptable. We know that this was not a spontaneous demonstration, we know that it was not fueled by a hateful video. It was an al-qaida affiliated group that had attacked our consulate twice before. How he thinks he can fool the american people on this one i don't know."

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