Both camps manage debate expectations

The other guy will be much better, both Obama and Romney say

Published September 26, 2012 12:57PM (EDT)

As the first presidential debate gets closer, both Romney and Obama have been making sure that people don't get their hopes up too high for their performances.

Yesterday, Romney praised Obama's speaking abilities, while pointing out that he's new at this whole debate thing (aside from the primaries, obviously). “The president is obviously a very eloquent, gifted speaker — he’ll do just fine,” Romney told Fox News. “I’ve, you know, I’ve never been in a presidential debate like this and it will be a new experience.”

He added that Americans will make “their assessment as to who’s the better speaker," but Romney has "the facts on my side."

Today, an article in the Los Angeles Times quoted Obama campaign press secretary Jen Paski, who said that Obama really hasn't been doing much debate prep, what with running the country and everything. "He has had to balance the management of world events, governing, time out campaigning," she said. "He'll have less time than we anticipated to sharpen and cut down his tendency to give long, substantive answers."

She added that Romney "has been training for them like an Olympic decathlete, starting earlier than any candidate in modern history and running through mock debates five times in 48 hours."

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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2012 Elections Barack Obama Debates Mitt Romney Presidential Debates