News Column

Staff: Obama 'Calm and Energized' Ahead of Debate

Oct. 16, 2012

Todd Allen Wilson

obama

As President Barack Obama continued to preparing for his second debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney at Kingsmill Resort Monday, a campaign official said the president is looking forward to Tuesday's rematch between the two candidates.

"His focus has been on preparing for tomorrow," said national campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki. "And he's looking forward to it. He's excited for it. I know we've all seen him a bit -- he's calm and energized and just looking forward to getting to New York tomorrow."

Psaki would not give details on exactly how Obama is preparing for Tuesday's town hall debate format.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is in Williamsburg with the president standing in for Romney as Obama prepares for the debate to be held in Hempstead, N.Y. Romney is working with GOP Sen. Rob Portman in Boston.

Romney was considered the clear winner when the two met for their first debate in Denver on Oct. 4. The GOP nominee's energized performance gave him a bump in the polls nationally and in Virginia.

Prior to the first contest Obama had been leading in Virginia, but recent polls show the race in the commonwealth a virtual tie.

RealClearPolitics.com, which keeps a running average of the polls, has Obama with 48.4 percent in Virginia to Romney's 47.6 percent based on the five most recent polls conducted in the commonwealth.

"It's tightened, which we fully expected to happen," Psaki said. "And as has always been the case, the president (and campaign advisers) Jim Messina, David Axelrod, David Plouffe, whomever it is, feels it's important to remind the American people that we have a long way to go here."

Psaki said Obama would campaign aggressively following the debate, including a campaign stop in Northern Virginia on Friday. Obama has made a number of campaign visits to Hampton Roads in recent weeks in addition to his debate preparation in Williamsburg.

Romney and his vice presidential running mate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have been frequent visitors to the Old Dominion and Hampton Roads. Last Friday Romney campaigned in Chesterfield, and last Monday he made his first campaign visit to Newport News. Ryan will visit Lynchburg and Fredericksburg on Tuesday.

Virginia is a key battleground state that is seen as a must win for either candidate.

Psaki told reporters in Richmond Monday afternoon that is one of the reasons Obama chose Kingsmill for debate preparation.

"Virginia is a state that no question it's going to be close right down to the wire," Psaki said.

On Sunday Obama took a break from debate preparations to visit the Williamsburg campaign office, where he brought pizza and sat down to make phone calls to local volunteers.

Psaki said the president will leave for New York Tuesday morning.



Source: (c)2012 the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.