May 18, 2013
Before first US presidential debate, allies debate stakes
Three days before the first US presidential debate, allies of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney debated on Sunday how the encounter between the White House contenders will influence the US election.
In typical straight-talking fashion, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie predicted fellow Republican Romney's performance at Wednesday's debate would alter the course of the campaign, weeks before the Nov. 6 vote.
"This whole race is going to turn upside down come Thursday morning," Christie told CBS' "Face the Nation."
His comments strayed from the script of both campaigns, which have tried to play down their own candidate's chances at the debate in Denver and talk up their opponent, thus making it easier to claim victory or explain a defeat on Wednesday.
"I think what we need is a big and bold performance on Wednesday night, and that's what he's going to give us," Christie said of Romney on ABC's "This Week."
Romney comes into the first of three presidential debates with poor poll figures in important battleground states as he seeks to recover from a leaked video where the former private equity executive described nearly half of Americans as dependent upon government and who view themselves as victims.
"We've had some missteps, but at the end of the day the choice is really clear," Romney's vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan told "Fox News Sunday."
Ryan tried to lower the stakes for Romney's debate performance. "I don't think any one event is going to make or break this campaign," he said.
Obama departed for Nevada, where he will hunker down with aides in a "debate camp."
Obama was not focused only on scoring points or coming up with zingers to use against his rival, his advisers said.
"The president and Mitt Romney clearly view the debates as a very different opportunity. The President sees this as an opportunity to continue his conversation with the American people as he been doing over the last several months," campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Air Force One.