2012 Presidential Debate

Before becoming president, Barack Obama served as a U.S. senator, representing the state of Illinois. (AP Photo)

Obama:

For an American President used to dealing with international crises and speaking with world leaders, having to sit down to prepare for a debate is apparently “a drag,” as President Obama said to a political volunteer, according to the Huffington Post.

Luckily for Obama, his presidential demands have kept him from long stretches of debate preparation.

“The ability to find solid blocks of time to do nothing but prepare for debate is almost impossible for the president,” Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, told the New York Times.  “The world doesn’t wait for debate prep.”

Despite earning a reputation as a good debater over the 23 debates he was involved in during the last Presidential election cycle, his Campaign is trying to use a strategy of framing him as an over burdened under-dog coming into this debate.

The president said in a recent speech in Las Vegas that Mitt Romney is “a good debater – I’m just okay.”

This strategy of lowering expectations is one of many that goes into preparing for a political debate.  Throughout his three days of preparation, veteran Democratic operatives and inner-circle White House advisers, like David Axelrod and David Plouffe, have coached him.

This debate prep team has been pouring over hours of old videotape of Romney and, according to the New York Times, Plouffe has watched debates back to Gerald R Ford against Jimmy Carter with the sound down in order to understand how a challenger’s stature increases by sharing a stage with the president.

The team has been using this meticulously gathered information to prepare Obama. According to Yahoo, one of Obama’s aides said, “We are trying to be as annoying as a White House correspondent.”

Senator John Kerry has been aiding Obama’s preparation by taking on the role of Romney in the mock debate sessions.

According to Yahoo, Obama and his prep team have been working on curbing his tendency to be long-winded.  The President also records his debates in order to sharpen his responses so that they connect on a more visceral level with the television audience.

The President has also reported that he would not explicitly be developing “zingers and special lines.”  Instead, AP reports that Obama and his prep team are trying to extend his dialogue with the American people.

While Obama is currently ahead in polls in the key battleground states, Mitt Romney is planning and preparing, on making this first debate a turning point for the election.

Mitt Romney served as the governor of Massachusetts before trying his hand in the 2008 presidential campaign. (AP Photo)

Romney:

While Barack Obama has found some time to hunker down and prepare for Wednesday in his Las Vegas debate headquarters, Mitt Romney has been devoutly preparing for this moment since June, according to the New York Times.

His dedication to debate preparation was visible when he had a problem with a charter plane that kept him out until after midnight and his adviser, Beth Myers, asked if he still wanted to practice the next day. “Painfully” he emailed, “but yes.”

During his extensive preparation, Romney, like Obama, has been working on fine-tuning his mechanics.  According to Yahoo, the goal of Romney’s aides has been to agitate him and teach him to keep his composure while not coming off as a scolder.

Another primary focus of his team is to prepare Romney to create moments where he can use a series of zingers that he has memorized and has practiced on his aides since August. The primary reasoning for this is to lure Obama into appearing smug or evasive about his responsibility for the economy, according to the New York Times.

Romney has also been working on going after Obama’s record without looking too aggressive.  Senator Rob Portman of Ohio has assisted Romney with all this while playing Obama during mock debate sessions.

On top of this extensive preparation, Romney and the Republican National Party have mounted counter-attack’s to Obama’s jabs at his 47 percent comments. Obama’s political allies have sent out fliers to Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio criticizing Romney’s comments at a private fundraiser that said that 47 percent of Americans are completely dependent on the government and feel entitled to healthcare, food and housing.

In response, Romeny has authored an editorial in the Wall Street Journal that focuses on his desire to renew America’s economic strength, military strength, and the strength of our values.

Also, the Republican National Party has unveiled a website called failedpromise.com that calls itself a “comprehensive guide to candidate Obama’s campaign promises.”

Romney participated in 19 debates during the Republican Primary in 2011 and used his debate skills to outlast the whole host of other Republican candidates.

Gov. Chris Christie expressed his faith in Romney’s debate prowess saying the debate will be “the restart of this campaign.”