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· Historically, debate performances have reset the course of a presidential campaign in the last weeks of an election. In 2004, John Kerry overcame a significant deficit after outperforming President Bush in the first debate.
· Presidential challengers benefit just by being on the same stage as the incumbent. That’s one of the reasons why five out of the last six presidential challengers were judged to have won the first debate.
· After winning 16 out of 20 debates in the Republican primary, Mitt Romney is clearly banking on that strategy. The Romney campaign expects the debates to have the same result as in 1980, when Reagan’s debates with Carter blew the race wide open. When Romney was in trouble in the primaries, he often used debates to recover, even turning around Florida with a winning debate performance.
That’s why Romney began debate prep back in July, and has already spent more time prepping than any other recent candidate.
He spent the week of the Democratic convention in debate camp, has spent the last two weekends in debate prep, and according to Politico, recently conducted 5 mock debates in 48 hours.
Just as he was in the primaries, Mitt Romney will be a prepared, disciplined and aggressive debater. Tim Pawlenty said Romney “is as good as it gets in debating. He is poised, prepared, smart, strategic.”
· President Obama has spent time reviewing Governor Romney’s record and proposals, primarily during campaign travel.
· As the first debate approaches, he will spend additional time preparing. But, in contrast to Mitt Romney, President Obama has had to cut back some of his preparation already because of his duties as president.
· There is no doubt Romney will have the edge on preparation when he and the President meet on October 3rd in Denver, Colorado.