Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, said President Obama is going to have a “strong” debate performance on Tuesday night, a stark change from the expectation the campaign tried to set before the previous debate.
Before the first presidential debate two weeks ago in Denver, Obama surrogates went on news shows and claimed Romney was a much stronger debater, in an attempt to tamp down debate expectations. After a disappointing first debate and with higher stakes this time, the tone was different on Tuesday.
“You're going to see an exceptionally strong debate performance from the president,” Gibbs said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “He’ll be energetic. We'll talk about … not just the last four years, but what the agenda is for the future and how we continue to move our country and economy forward, strengthening it for the middle class.”
Several Democrats have called on Obama to give more specifics for a second term in this next debate, including veteran Democratic strategists Stanley B. Greenberg and James Carville, who released a memo on Tuesday. On Sunday, The Washington Post wrote, “Until and unless he does, the only rationale he can offer voters is the urgency of stopping the other guys.”
Gibbs said the town hall-style debate will allow everyday Americans to ask questions and allow Obama to “connect with the story they're telling."