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Mind games precede first prez debate

world Updated: Oct 03, 2012 08:06 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
Barack Obama

Barack Obama has a problem with brevity. He is so professorial, he doesn’t know when to stop. Guess who is calling out the president so publicly, so ruthlessly: his own campaign.

As the president hunkered down with aides — for last-hour preparations for the crucial presidential debate on October 3 — his campaign went public with their candidate’s chinks.

The Obama campaign’s second biggest worry is that the president will let his disdain of Romney lull him into committing game-changing mistakes.

The Obama campaign’s takedown of its candidates is part of a strategy to tamp down expectations. The other part of it is to tell the world the president is not getting enough practice. And then the president weighed in on it himself addressing a rally not far from his preparations headquarters in Henderson, Nevada state.

“Governor Romney, he is a good debater,” the president said to a noisily skeptical audience, “I am just okay.”

The Romney campaign has tried to return the compliment. But it’s buffeted by rising expectations with almost every on the right pinning their last dollar on the Denver debate. The consensus: it’s Romney’s last chance.

Romney is also apparently practising zingers of the kind that brought Ronald Reagan unmatched adulation.

“We also saw in reports that Romney and his team have been working on zingers and special lines,” said Obama campaign’s Jen Psaki, adding, “That’s not what the President’s focus is on.”

In other words: The president is going to let Romney come at him with zingers, but he will not react.