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Obama And Romney Debate Tonight

Catherine Green |
October 3, 2012 | 8:23 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer


The candidates have been manipulating expectations leading up to tonight's debate. (Flickr/Creative Commons)
The candidates have been manipulating expectations leading up to tonight's debate. (Flickr/Creative Commons)
President Barack Obama faces his Republican opponent Mitt Romney in the first of three presidential debates tonight at the University of Denver in Colorado.

According to Politico, the latest NBC/WSJ poll shows Obama edged ahead in key swing states Ohio, Florida and Virginia, though his advantage over Romney has narrowed.

For both candidates, tonight's debate poses a challenge: Who looks the part? Who acts like a president? From CNN:

"If either the president or Romney can't pass this test, the rest really don't matter. Big ideas from a small person won't make you president of the United States," says Republican strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos. "When the moment comes, this is like proposing to your wife. This is a big moment."

Thanks to already serving nearly four years in the White House, Obama starts with the advantage, but he can't afford to play it safe at the debate.

"Playing it safe allows Romney to dominate the agenda and put Obama on defense. Either you're on offense or defense, and defense loses," adds Castellanos, who was a senior adviser to Romney in 2008 election.

The first debate will focus solely on domestic policy, though Romney may try to slip in challenges to Obama's handling of Libya. 

But even if he doesn't make any great strides in explaining his platform, Romney is in a position to significantly change his standing in the polls. Dan Schnur, a professor at USC and former Republican strategist, told CBS News, "Romney doesn't need to try to win the election [tonight]… There are never magical transformational moments in a presidential debate that's going to fundamentally remake the race. But for a challenger, being on the stage toe-to-toe with an incumbent is an important opportunity to prove that you can be trusted with the responsibilities of the presidency."

ALSO SEE: What Romney Needs To Do In The Upcoming Debates

According to Fox News Latino, Colorado is a fitting stage for the first face-to-face challenge over the fate of the country.

The first debate of the presidential campaign will be taking place in a state that tipped in favor of President Barack Obama in 2008, when he became only the second Democrat to win Colorado since 1964.

It is also where, like the rest of the country, unemployment is high – the economy and the federal debt dominated the congressional debate here, with Republicans echoing arguments at the national level casting Democrats as hooked on big government and excessive spending, and Democrats portraying Republicans as favoring the rich at the expense of low- and middle-income Americans.

If the tenor of political discussions in Colorado mirrors that unfolding on the national stage, the electorate in this critical battleground state also reflects to a large degree the demographic and ideological diversity among voters.

ALSO SEE: Presidential Debates: Five Mishaps Worth Remembering

We'll be covering the debate live tonight. Follow us: @neontommy. See more of Neon Tommy's debate coverage here.


Related stories:

Obama Calls Out Another Romney Flip Flop Before Debate

First Presidential Debate Romney's Last Shot

Obama, Romney Debate Won't Sway Voters


Reach Executive Producer Catherine Green here. Follow her here.



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