Columbus Day: Your guide to the top 5 political events today

Election season doesn’t stop for Columbus Day, and the action isn’t limited to the presidential contest. Here are your top five political events to watch this Columbus Day.

2. Other territory that Romney could cover

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    Supporters for Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, don coal miners hats as they wait for a rally in Abington, Va., Friday. In his foreign policy speech on Monday, Romney may speak about energy independence as a goal for the US.
    Steve Helber/AP
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But excerpts do not make a speech, and America has foreign policy challenges outside the Middle East. Here are a few topics that Romney could address.

Latin America, where Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez was just reelected to a third, six-year term.

China, a buzzword for the Romney campaign that’s synonymous with “currency manipulator” and “job thief.” Romney alludes to free trade in his excerpted remarks, and he could pair this with a desire to see other nations play by international trade rules.

The role of government in development. VMI was once home to George Marshall, the secretary of State who carried out what became known as the Marshall Plan, a massive infusion of US aid to post-World War II Europe. While Romney hails Marshall in his speech, the Marshall Plan, which was undertaken at massive expense to the federal government, wasn’t exactly the highest form of the public-private partnerships that Romney has held up as the best use of US foreign aid dollars.

Energy. Romney speaks often of “North American energy independence” as an intermediate-term goal for the US, having the twin benefit of creating jobs in the energy industry while making America less reliant on foreign oil.

Defense spending. Congressional Republicans have been going batty about cuts to the Defense Department, which were established as part of last year’s debt ceiling deal. Romney has been critical of these cuts, about $55 billion of which will come into being on Jan. 1 save congressional action. This speech would give him a prime opportunity to say how he would avoid them.

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