Campaigns Offer Preview of Debate Rematch
October 15, 2012
Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is promising a more-engaged
performance by the president in Tuesday’s debate rematch with Republican
challenger Mitt Romney. Both campaigns are expressing confidence in
their candidate’s ability to make a strong case to the American people
in the second of three nationally-televised encounters.
It has been nearly two weeks since President Barack Obama gave what even
his most ardent supporters regarded as a weak and uninspiring
performance against a crisp-speaking and seemingly well-rehearsed former
Governor Romney. Tuesday’s face-off in New York will provide an
opportunity for the president to make a better case for his re-election,
according to senior campaign adviser David Axelrod.
“I think he is going to be aggressive in making the case for his view of
where we should go as a country, and a country that is built around a
growing, thriving middle class,” he said.
Axelrod spoke on the U.S. television program Fox News Sunday.
Since the first debate, the president has seen a substantial lead in
public-opinion polls evaporate, and Mitt Romney has spoken to larger,
more enthusiastic crowds at campaign appearances. Axelrod says the Obama
campaign is not panicking over the turn of events.
“As I have said throughout, even when the polls were wildly positive for
us, that these public polls are all over the place [fluctuate], and the
reality of the race on the ground is that we are ahead," he said. "It is
a little bit narrower than it was before the last debate, but we feel
good about where we are.”
Meanwhile, Governor Romney will continue to deliver a message that is
resonating with the American people, according to senior campaign
adviser Ed Gillespie.
“The governor is going to do what he did in the last debate. He is going
to talk about his agenda," he said. "He is going to talk about his
policies. They are in very sharp contrast. There is a big-choice
Gillespie says Romney expects to face a more-assertive President Obama,
but said whatever debating style the president employs will be of little
“Even if he changes his style - whatever political tactic the president
settles on - he cannot change his record and he cannot change his
policies," added Gillespie.
A third presidential debate next week will focus on foreign affairs.
Last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya is
sure to be a major focus of the encounter. Republicans continue to
accuse the Obama administration of incompetence and deceit in their
handling of the tragedy.
Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation program, Republican Senator Lindsey
Graham accused the administration of placing political interests ahead
of the national interest.
“They are trying to sell a narrative that the Middle East wars are
receding and al-Qaida has been dismantled," said Graham. "And to admit
that our embassy was attacked by al-Qaida operatives, and leading Libya
from behind did not work, undercuts that narrative. I think they have
been misleading us, but it [events in Libya] finally caught up with
Democratic lawmakers accuse Republicans of seeking their own political
“We will search the killers down and bring them to justice," said
Congressman Elijah Cummings is the top Democrat on the House Oversight
Committee. "The one thing we must not do is treat it as a political
football, and I think that is basically what is happening. This
conspiracy stuff is kind of ridiculous, to be honest with you.”
At a hearing last week, the committee heard from U.S. officials who had
expressed concern about security at the Benghazi consulate and
recommended a strengthening of security measures prior to the attack.