Obama sets stage for debate against Romney

2012-10-01 12:02
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Las Vegas - US President Barack Obama on Sunday set the table for his first debate with Mitt Romney, billing the clash as about security for hard working Americans, not who could fire off the best "zingers".

Obama heaped pressure on his foe, who is angling for a dramatic turnaround for his ailing campaign in Wednesday's showdown, before bunkering down in a resort in Nevada's rocky desert to shake off his mothballed debating skills.

"The media is speculating already on who is going to have the best zingers ... who's going to put the most points on the board," Obama told a floodlit rally of 11 000 people at dusk in a Hispanic suburb of Las Vegas.

"Governor Romney, he's a good debater ... I'm just okay," Obama said tongue-in-cheek, as he upped the stakes in the classic game of expectations setting that rival campaigns wage before big debates.

Obama sought to frame the face-off, the first of a trio of presidential debates, as a contrast between substance and style, and to paint himself as the champion of the hurting middle class.

"What I am most concerned about is having a serious discussion about what we need to do to keep the country going and restore security for hard working Americans," Obama said.

Obama in the lead

"That is what people are going to be listening for, that is the debate you deserve," the president told a crowd amped up by the Mexican rock band Mana.

Republican Romney and Democrat Obama will meet in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday night for the first of three debates crucial to shaping the remaining five weeks of the president's bid for a second White House term.

Obama currently leads the national race - by five points in the latest Gallup daily tracking poll - and in most key battlegrounds.

While the classic pre-debate spin requires campaigns to play down the chances of their man, gruff New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appeared not to get the memo from the Romney campaign.

"Wednesday night is the restart of this campaign and I think you're going to see those numbers start to move right back in the other direction," Christie said.

"This whole race is going to be turned upside down come [on] Thursday morning."

'Missteps'

The Obama campaign pounced on the comment, which will permit the president's camp to portray the former Massachusetts governor's performance on Wednesday as disappointing, whatever the outcome of the debate.

"What [Christie] said is what they've been saying for months, that they expect that after the debates will turn the race upside down," Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One.

"We fully expect that that's what they're focused on."

Romney's vice presidential pick Paul Ryan admitted to "some missteps" after Romney's nightmare month in the White House race, and sought to moderate expectations, saying no debate would "make or break" the campaign.

Obama is "a very gifted speaker", Ryan said. "The man's been on the national stage for many years. He's an experienced debater. He's done these kinds of debates before. This is Mitt's first time on this kind of a stage."

Ryan also hammered Obama over the White House's shifting account of the assault on the US consulate in Benghazi.

Claims of a cover-up

"It's part of a bigger picture of the fact that the Obama foreign policy is unravelling literally before our eyes on our TV screens," Ryan said on Fox News Sunday, revealing that Romney was planning a major foreign policy speech soon.

Initially, US officials said the 11 September assault in Benghazi was a spontaneous demonstration whipped by outrage over an anti-Muslim film made on US soil.

But they are now describing the incident as terrorism with possible links to al-Qaeda, fuelling Republican claims that the Obama administration mounted a cover-up to preserve the president's favourable ratings on national security.

Republican Senator John McCain said the administration's narrative did not pass the "smell test".

"It was either wilful ignorance or abysmal intelligence to think that people come to spontaneous demonstrations with heavy weapons, mortars and the attack goes on for hours," he said.

Obama adviser David Plouffe said it was "preposterous and really offensive" to suggest the government withheld information on Libya for political reasons.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  john mccain  |  us  |  libya  |  benghazi attack  |  us elections 2012  |  prophet protests  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Goodwood - 08:14 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between Giel Basson Drive and the N7 Highway Interchange
  • Monday Paarden Eiland - 08:09 AM
    Road name: Marine Drive Southbound
    DELAYS approaching the N1 Highway
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Domestic Workers

Cape Town
Mobile Recruitment
R2 000 - R2 500 Per Month

Fire Engineer

Cape Town
Cozens Recruitment Group ( Western Cape)
R300 000 - R380 000 Per Month

Senior Programmer/Team Leader

Cape Winelands
HopkinsCalvert Associates

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.60

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong emphasis on relationships. Obsession, emotional disputes, retaliation or competitive actions are highlighted....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.