Obama to stop Romney’s ‘magical’ performance

Obama to stop Romney’s ‘magical’ performance

Massachusetts - The Associated Press
Obama to stop Romney’s ‘magical’ performance

Obama carries boxes of pizzas as he arrives at a campaign office in Virginia. AFP photo

U.S. President Barack Obama’s advisers have promised he will show more aggressiveness in today’s debate with Mitt Romney, who is enjoying new momentum in the campaign, to prevent the Republican rival from delivering another “magical and theatrical performance.”

Obama and Romney hunkered down in private debate preparation for much of the day Oct. 14 as aides offered a pre-debate sparring match on television. They disagreed on much, but agreed that Romney bested Obama in their first meeting nearly two weeks ago, a performance that shifted the direction of a race that had favored the president but has since tightened in national and battleground state polls.
“He knows Mitt Romney had a better night at the first debate,” Obama spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said of the president. “The American people should expect to see a much more energized President Obama.” Ed Gillespie, senior adviser to the Romney campaign, quipped that the former Massachusetts governor would be prepared regardless of Obama’s adjustments: “The president can change his style. He can change his tactics. He can’t change his record.”

Obama spent the day with aides in swing state Virginia, while Romney stayed close to his Boston-area home ahead of the prime-time, town hall-style debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, exactly three weeks before the Nov. 6 election.

Romney’s advisers suggested the Republican nominee would continue to moderate his message. “I think Mitt Romney’s performance was, indeed, magical and theatrical. Magical and theatrical largely because for 90 minutes he walked away from a campaign he had been running for more than six years previous to that,” Obama senior campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said of the first debate.

Aides said Obama and his team were both studying up on policy and holding mock debates, featuring Democratic Sen. John Kerry playing the role of Romney. Anita Dunn, a former Obama aide brought back to help with debate preparations, was playing the role of debate moderator Candy Crowley.