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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / Campaign 2012

Campaigns Try to Control Debate Expectations

President Obama and Mitt Romney(AP/Ron Edmonds/Jim Cole)

photo of Matt Vasilogambros
September 21, 2012

In an attempt to lower expectations for their own candidates, both presidential campaigns are praising their opponents' debating skills with the first showdown between President Obama and Mitt Romney just two weeks away.

David Axelrod, senior adviser to the Obama campaign, touted Romney’s debating skills on Friday.

“We know Gov. Romney has been practicing for months,” Axelrod said on NBC’s Today. “I think the invasion of Normandy took less preparation than he's putting into these debates. So, I expect he'll be prepared and ready, and will be strong in these debates. And we have to be ready as well.”

 

Striking a similar tone, Dan Senor, a senior advise to Romney, called the upcoming debate “very important,” and complemented the president on his previous debates.

“President Obama is a very experienced debater,” Senor said on CBS’s This Morning. “We saw how he did in 2008. Vice President Biden is a very experienced debater. He's been doing this for decades. He's run for president a few times.”

Both campaigns have sent out emails to the press pointing to the strengths of their opponent. The question remains, who will win the expectations game.

With Obama rising in many polls and Romney having a tough few weeks on the trail, analysts say the debates are where Romney can reverse his fortunes.

Romney has spent a good deal of time with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and his staff preparing, while the Obama campaign has enlisted the help of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry to help the president drill for the matchup Oct. 3.

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