News Column

Obama-Romney Presidential Debate: Round 2 in New York

October 16, 2012
Presidential debates

U.S. President Barack Obama plans to be respectful but firm in his second debate against Republican challenger Mitt Romney Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.

"You should expect that he's going to be firm but respectful in correcting the record and the times we expect Mitt Romney will hide from and distort his own policies," Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.

"He's energized and I expect he will also be making a passionate case," she said.

The debate, at a 5,000-seat sports and exhibition complex at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., near New York City, was to be a "town meeting" format moderated by CNN "State of the Union" host Candy Crowley.

The third and final debate, Oct. 22, is to take place at a 750-seat performing arts center at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. It is expected to focus on foreign policy and be moderated by CBS News "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer.

Obama, who was widely seen as weak in the first debate Oct. 3, has been preparing at a resort in Williamsburg, Va., in an attempt to stop Romney's momentum and regain lost ground.

A United Press International poll Monday indicated Romney had a 3 percentage-point lead over Obama, with 49 percent of likely voters saying they would vote for Romney and 46 percent saying they favored Obama.

A Washington Post poll Monday found the number of supporters who back Romney "very enthusiastically" doubled after the debate, with 62 percent of likely voters backing Romney saying they now back him intensely.

Psaki declined to offer details about Obama's practice sessions, explaining the president was "calm and energized and looking forward to getting to New York."

Senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie told "Fox News Sunday" the GOP nominee would continue to take the fight to Obama Tuesday as he did during their first meeting.

"I think the governor is going to do what he did on the last debate," Gillespie said. "He's going to talk about his agenda. He's going to talk about his policies and there is a big choice election here between President Obama's policies and Governor Romney's policies."

Romney prepared for the debate by working on body language and stylistic changes to maximize the more informal feel of a town-hall style format, The Washington Times reported.

"What the governor has to do and what he will do is be exactly who he was at the last debate -- be himself," conservative commentator Bay Buchanan, U.S. treasurer under President Ronald Reagan, said on the CBS News program "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Both candidates have expressed concerns Crowley promised to ask follow-up questions if she thinks it's appropriate, rather than simply let the audience members ask questions.

Both campaigns complained to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The campaign complaints were met with commentator derision.

Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren wrote: "What are they both afraid of? A surprise question? A tough question? Or worse, a follow-up question that challenges them?"

Source: Copyright United Press International 2012

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