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Denver to host Obama-Romney faceoff today

Denver to host Obama-Romney faceoff today
US President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney are running neck and neck in a series of national polls ahead of the first of the three presidential debates to be held in Denver on Wednesday with economy and domestic policy to be on top of the agenda.

Ahead of the Denver clash, the two leaders on Monday started making last minute preparations for what is the make or break moment for both Obama and Romney; who aspire to lead the country for the next four years.

Fifty one years old Obama was huddling with his top advisers at a desert resort in Nevada, while 65-year-old Romney was practicing with his close aides in Massachusetts where he also spent most of the weekend working with his debate team.

The debates, a regular feature of American presidential campaigns since 1960, allow a chance to measure up the leaders who would be president as they stand side-by-side.

Being organised by the Commission on Presidential Debates, Obama and Romney over the course of this month would meet each other for three presidential debates.

Besides the one at Denver on 3 October, the two leaders would debate again on 16 October in New York and 22 October in Florida.

The two vice presidential candidates, incumbent Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan of the Republican party, would debate each other in Kentucky.

To be moderated by Lim Lehrer, host of the News Hour on PBS, the focus of the Denver debate would be on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each.

The New York debate would be moderated by candy Crowley of CNN and would take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues.

Hosted by Bob Schieffer of the Face the Nation on CBS news, the third and final debate in Florida will focus on foreign policy.

Over the weekend, Obama at a campaign speech said that Romney is a good debater.

‘Governor Romney, he’s a good debater. I’m just okay,’ Obama said during a campaign event in Nevada.

‘But what I’m most concerned about is having a serious discussion about what we need to do to keep the country growing and restore security for hardworking Americans. That’s what people are going to be listening for. That’s the debate that you deserve,’ Obama said.

It’s not a choice between two candidates or two political parties. It’s a choice between two different paths for this country. It’s a choice between two fundamentally different visions for our nation,’ he said.

Paul Ryan, the running mate of Romney, said that the US President is a good debater, indicating that both the camps are trying to lower their expectations.

At the same time both the camps intensified the attack on the other camp.

‘We are entering the debate phase, the choice phase of this campaign. And this choice is ever so clear. We can either have four more years like the last years, or we can get this country back on track with a real recovery. And that’s what we’re going to do,’ Ryan said in his speech at an election campaign event in Iowa.

The presidential election is scheduled for 6 November.

‘On the eve of the first debate, Mitt Romney still refuses to be straight with the American people,’ charged Lis Smith, Obama campaign spokeswoman.

‘While he promised to pay for his USD 5 trillion tax cut plan that’s skewed toward millionaires and billionaires by closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans, independent analysts have shown that his plan can only be paid for by eliminating deductions that middle class families rely on, like the mortgage interest deduction,’ she said.

‘Raising taxes on small business owners and the middle class might make sense to Mitt Romney but it would be disastrous for our economy. On Wednesday night, he will need more than ‘zingers’ and attacks on the President – he will need to honour his campaign’s promises to get specific and tell the truth to the American people,’ Smith said.

The Obama campaign spokesperson Jen Psaki said during his debate preparations, one of the main focus of the US President is to make sure he’s sharpening his answers and shortening the time it takes to make them.

‘But also remembering that his goal on Wednesday evening is to speak directly to the American people, to build on what he did at the convention and what he’s been doing for months in laying out the choice for the American people,’ she said.

Meanwhile, there was nationwide excitement ahead of the first presidential debate with people from both the parties and other groups organizing debate watch parties so that they can together watch live and discuss threadbare after that. [PTI]
Lalit K Jha

Lalit K Jha

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